HOUSTON - At Harris County's NRG election central, it was the calm before the midterm storm.
ELECTION DAY GUIDE: What you need to know to vote in the Houston area
With more than three-quarters of a million votes already cast early in Harris County, Election Administrator Clifford Tatum reports few, if any, procedural problems, other than sporadic anxiety handling paper ballots.
It's discomfort among some voters he's hoping to remedy on election day.
"Our voters are a little squeamish about how to insert the papers into the machine, so some more educational opportunities, not only out in the neighborhood but at the polling place where we will instruct the voters that much better," said Tatum.
As for concerns about potential intimidation at the polls, Tatum says they haven't materialized in Harris County.
"We have not seen that our workers have been coerced or intimidated. We understand that it is happening around the nation, and we pray for those folk," said Tatum. "The election workers, judges, and clerks, they are our friends and neighbors. They have been doing this for years and dedicating themselves. They are committing themselves every day for a very small amount of money. They are not there to steal anyone's election. They are there to do the process. Might they make a mistake? Sure, but we are humans."
Looming over this midterm is the outbreak of chaos and confusion during and after Harris County's deeply flawed March Primary in which results were badly delayed and 10,000 votes were temporarily lost.
Tatum, who was hired after the March debacle, says he actually welcomes constructive scrutiny from the State inspectors currently on the ground here.
"That's exactly right, trust, but verify and if there is a process that we are not doing right or that we could do better, we are all open for that," said Tatum.
Meantime State Secretary of State John Scott is pledging an honest midterm and an accurate count.
"We feel very confident this is the safest, most transparent election we will ever have conducted in the state," said Scott.
Tatum says voters who have yet to cast a ballot have 782 different voting locations to choose from on Tuesday.