As the election results for 2020 continue to trickle in, allegations of potential voter fraud have surfaced in a handful of closely-run states with low margins. Here is what we know about the voter counting process in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Many Republican voters in Arizona claimed that the election workers instructed them to use Sharpies to fill out their ballots, which meant they were not read by the voting machines.
These allegations, referred to as “Sharpiegate,” could be used in an attempt to undermine the election results in the traditionally Republican state. The Associated Press called the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Arizona on Wednesday morning around 12:50 p.m., with 97 percent of precincts reporting.
Videos and allegations surfaced on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning in the social media of people who said their ballots had been rejected because of the Sharpie marks. However, several senior election workers and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the markers were widespread and that the ballots marked with them would be counted.
“There is no concern that the ballots will be counted because the pen was used to count the ballots,” Hobbs told CNN on Wednesday.
The Maricopa County Election Board posted an information video on October 24 that showed voters how to use sharp pens on their ballots in addition to the regular pens. Maricopa County includes Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona.
Megan Gilbertson, the department’s director of communications, told Reuters that the district began using new equipment last year that made the Sharpies the best pens to use when filling out a ballot because of their quick-drying ink.
“The Sharpies are very easy to use,” said Gilbertson. “They have no effect on tabulation, and we encourage them on election day because the ink dries so quickly,” Gilbertson said.
Facebook’s fact-checkers have since labeled social media videos and allegations about the Sharpies claims as “false information,” according to Reuters. The social media giant has also blocked the #sharpiegate hashtag.
A conservative social media account published the claim that a large “treasure trove” of Michigan ballots, all voting for Biden, had been “found” early Wednesday morning.
“So while everyone was sleeping and after everyone went home, the Democrats magically found a treasure trove of 138,339 votes in Michigan, and all 138,339 of those ‘votes’ magically went to Biden,” Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, tweeted on Wednesday morning. “This doesn’t look suspicious at all.”
The unsubstantiated claim was reinforced when President Donald Trump tweeted back a post by GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak that included a screenshot of an interactive map of Michigan’s election results where Biden’s haul increased by nearly 140,000 votes while the number of votes for Trump and others remained unchanged.
Mackowiak has since resigned his post. Twitter added a disclaimer to Trump and Davis’ tweets: “Some or all of the content shared in this tweet is controversial and could be misleading with respect to an election or other civil process.
The cited numbers have since been reported as a typo committed by a Michigan County clerk.
Caroline Wilson of Shiawassee County told FactCheck.org on Wednesday that she was responsible for the mistake. “Nothing was compromised in any way,” Wilson said. “It was clearly a human error.”
The district reported to the polling station that Biden received 15,371 votes compared to 21,354 votes from Trump. When the typo was made, the count was reported as 153,710, far exceeding the district’s 55,612 registered voters.
Another Shiawassee County election official, Abby Bowen, told FactCheck.org that the typo was quickly corrected and stressed that election night reports were unofficial in any case.
“There was a typo in the original report that was sent to the polling station. It was identified in a very short time and corrected quickly,” Bowen said.
“Everything that is reported on election night is unofficial,” she continued, “so we have checks and balances. This is not a kind of election fraud. It was literally just a typo.”
Mackowiak later corrected himself in a tweet on Wednesday.
“The tweet was honestly based on