The fact that the element is either touching the chip tray or extremely close, is the very reason the older MES units burned chips more efficiently. The new units with higher wattage elements, added a 2nd piece of metal to separate the extra heat from the chip tray. Thus lots of complaints about uneven smoke and chips not burning correctly, followed by the release of the chip tray mod from Masterbuilt. Apparently the latest units have been coming out with the older style chip tray (no piece of metal between the element & chip tray.) However that does present a problem, the higher heat elements can reach temp faster thus more cycling and maybe not good chips combustion. There should be nothing but ash in the tray after hours of smoke. I'm experimenting with larger chunks of wood, I used to use 1"x2" or 1"x1". I now have a band saw so I can cut the chunks easily to any size I want. Last smoke I used 2"x3" and again all I had at the end of the smoke was ash.
If it really bothers you, take off the whole housing and figure out which needs to be either bent slightly or screwed in slightly different to get a bit of a gap. Is it worth the effort? Probably not, that whole assembly gets real hot (touching or no touching the element), many of us use some kind of heat deflector on top of the chip tray housing. ( I use a double sheet cookie trays with a little insulation inside.)