Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking the public to stop harassing her staff after she falsely claimed that ballots filled in Sharpie pens were not counted in the state.
“Dear members of the public: Please stop making harassing and threatening phone calls to my employees, Nessel twittered on Thursday. “They are friendly, hardworking officials who are just doing their job.”
Nessel continued: “Please stop harassing and threatening my employees: “Asking them to push Sharpies into uncomfortable places is never appropriate and a sad commentary on the state of our nation.
Republican voters in Arizona initially claimed that election workers instructed them to use Sharpies when filling out their ballots, which resulted in them not being read by the voting machines. The allegations soon spread to Michigan.
After the allegations from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, social media videos appeared of people who said their ballots had been rejected because of the Sharpies marks. The conspiracy was called “Sharpiegate”.
Facebook’s fact-checkers have since marked social media videos and allegations about the Sharpie claims as “false information,” according to Reuters. The social media giant has also blocked the hashtag “#sharpiegate”.
Election officials have since said that the branded pens were widely used and counted the ballots marked with Sharpie.
The Michigan State Department twittered on Thursday to make it clear that Sharpie does not invalidate or cancel a ballot.
“Using a Sharpie to mark a ballot will not invalidate or void a ballot or vote,” the tweet said.
The German Foreign Office also stated that the Sharpie will not alter or cancel any vote on the other side of the ballot.
“When the marker pierces to the other side, the ballots are designed so that the pen does not touch or come near a voting area on the other side of the ballot,” the Tweet continued. “This will not alter or cancel any vote on the opposite side.
The State Department even recommends using Sharpies on ballots because the ink dries quickly and does not leave any residue on their scanners.
“The Sharpies is the marking instrument recommended by the manufacturer of the tabulator and is preferable to an ink pen, as the ink dries quickly and does not leave any residue on the ballot scanner,” the Foreign Ministry tweets.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won the race in Michigan on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Biden won 2,791,529 of the 99 percent of reported votes, while Trump was trailing with 2,646,392 votes. The Key Swing State marks a victory for the Democratic Party, having previously voted red in 2016.