Arizona AG Demands Answers Over Sharpie Use at Voting Centers

Posted: Nov 04, 2020 1:10 PM
Arizona AG Demands Answers Over Sharpie Use at Voting Centers

Source: AP Photo/Bill Waugh

Accusations of fraud are being shared on social media from Election Day in Arizona after voters said election workers were distributing Sharpies instead of ink pens to fill out ballots, claiming that the use of a Sharpie prevents the ballot from being accepted. 

But Maricopa County election officials explained on Election Day why they were using Sharpies.

"Did you know we use Sharpies in the Vote Centers so the ink doesn’t smudge as ballots are counted onsite? New offset columns on the ballots means bleed through won’t impact your vote!" the Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted.

Beyond just being accepted, they were reportedly the preferred method of marking ballots.

You read that correctly. Sharpies are allowed. That's because the new tabulation equipment counts votes in a such a way that bleed-throughs are not a problem.  

Not only are Sharpies accepted when filling out a ballot in Maricopa County, they are preferred. That's because Sharpies have the fastest drying ink.

The one color you do need to worry about is red ink.  The tabulation equipment can't read red ink. (AZ Family)

Still, legitimate questions are being raised by some people's experiences with using Sharpies versus pens, who said the votes weren't counted. 

Below are some of the widely-circulated social media posts that originally raised red flags. 

Update: In Pima County, officials were discouraging the use of Sharpies, but said where the "intent can be discerned" the vote will be counted. Arizona election officials need to clear up the discrepancy in their messaging. 

Update: Arizona's Attorney General is demanding answers.

Update II:

Editor's Note: This post has been updated.

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