No, Elon Musk’s Twitter Did Not Perform at Its Best on Election Day

Unfounded speculation about rigged voting in Maricopa began heating up after Charlie Kirk, a conservative radio host, tweeted a video that showed a poll worker telling voters outside a polling station that two ballot tabulators were acting up. The video has been viewed more than four million times.

Voters had the option of staying until the tabulators resumed normal operation, going to another one of the county’s 223 voting centers or depositing their ballots for manual counting in a secure drop box. Local officials acted quickly, posting a video to Twitter explaining the situation. The video has been viewed fewer than one million times. Officials later tweeted that they were sending technicians to fix faulty printer settings on the machines.

But the messages were largely engulfed by an onslaught of conspiratorial posts that continued to multiply on Twitter, seemingly impervious to fact-checks. Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Arizona governor, advised her 583,000 Twitter followers that leaving for another polling place would likely keep their vote from counting. Her claim was debunked by elections officials, who said voters just needed to check out with a poll worker at the original location to return the issued ballot.

Maricopa’s Twitter account also hit back at a tweet from Mr. Kirk that claimed there was a minimum wait of two hours at most polling places in the county, which he described as a “traffic jam by design” that “Democrats running elections here knew” would happen. The county, whose board chairman and recorder are both Republicans, wrote that “no part of the tweet below is accurate,” with wait times under 30 minutes at the vast majority of vote centers.

But by the end of the day, the Maricopa misinformation contagion had spread across Twitter and beyond. It was further fueled by podcasts, right-wing publications and fringe platforms, alongside increasingly aggressive calls for protests, recalls and arrests. Jack Posobiec, a far-right commentator, wrote on Truth Social that the Guantánamo Bay detention center “has openings for the people behind the Maricopa County disaster.”

Other dubious claims also made the rounds on Twitter on Tuesday.

Kristina Karamo, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully to be Michigan’s secretary of state, told her Twitter followers that a software glitch in Detroit was actually evidence of voting fraud, an unfounded assertion later amplified by former President Donald J. Trump on Truth Social, his social media platform.