Hundreds of Republican voters in Arizona claim that election workers instructed them to use sharp knives that were not read by voting machines, a conspiratorial claim now being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told local news stations on Wednesday that sharpened ballots will be counted. Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, sent a letter to Maricopa County election officials and the state elections director, Scott Jarrett, asking for responses to the “SharpiesGate” allegations.
The Maricopa County Elections Department had previously released an informational video on October 24 showing voters how to use Sharpies on their ballots in addition to normal pens.
We have received hundreds of voter complaints about Sharpies at polling stations. Accordingly, we have sent this letter to the election officials in Maricopa County. Let us get some answers. Read our letter here: https://t.co/c6FSFZiNj7 pic.twitter.com/HnZ16UTTrs
– Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 4, 2020
“We have received hundreds of voter complaints regarding the use of Sharpie brand markers (‘Sharpies’) to fill out ballot papers on election day at voting centers in Maricopa County. Voters are concerned that the use of Sharpies may have resulted in ballot papers being rejected, spoiled or cancelled,” Brnowitsch’s letter to the state election commissioner states.
From Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, videos and allegations appeared in the social media by people who said their ballots had been rejected because of the Sharpie marks. But several senior election officials and the Arizona Secretary of State say that Sharpies were widespread and the machines counted the ballots marked with the marks.
“I voted in Maricopa County and received a Sharpie. My ballot shows Cancelled – that is criminal. In the waiting loop of the election committee to get answers,” a woman named Marcie Reichert tweeted on Wednesday. “VOTING FRAUD is REAL and HOPE”, the post continued.
This was claimed by another Twitter user: “I was not given a pen. In my polling station there were only pointed ballpoint pens. Why the hell should they only have nicknames if they don’t work? The website does not let me check my vote. The Pima district claims that you can only verify your ballots after all ballots have been verified.
But the conspiracy and Sharpie stories in the social media have prompted the GOP Attorney General’s Office to launch an investigation and ask the complainants to describe their experiences with Sharpie.
“In each polling station where Sharpies were provided or made available to voters, to what extent were Sharpies used? Were other types of markers or pens provided or used, and to what extent” is one of the questions posed by Assistant Attorney General Michael S. Catlett in his letter to Scott Jarrett.
Washington Newsday addressed the Arizona election workers and the Attorney General’s office on Wednesday to ask for a response.
The Associated Press called the Democratic presidential candidate in Arizona, Joe Biden, late Tuesday evening at about 12:50 p.m., with 97 percent of the precincts reporting. Biden has a 93,000 vote lead over Trump….