Voters in Arizona complain ballots marked using Sharpies were rejected

Several voters in Arizona claimed Tuesday evening, that ballots being marked with felt-tip Sharpies were being rejected at the polls while ballots marked with a typical ballpoint pen were being accepted.

In a video posted to social media, that has since gone viral, two women claimed that Sharpie-marked ballots were not being accepted.

“So, they’re invalidating votes is what they’re doing,” a man off-camera taking the video says.

“Yes,” one woman, also off-camera, responds.


Another woman seen on camera says, “There was a guy who actually came out and yelled at me…three times.”

“Oh, no, they called the sheriff and told us to stop handing out the ballpoint pens, in which case, those are the only ones that are actually being counted and validated,” the man says.

“I used your pen and then I brought it back to you and I said give this to somebody because it works,” the woman on-camera said.

“Yes, yes, and so we know that, and we’ve been telling them, ‘You need to use a ballpoint pen, not the Sharpie,’ and now those are getting invalidated,” the man continued.

“Yes,” says the on-camera woman.

“So, people are comin’ here to vote for Donald Trump and those votes are all getting invalidated, that’s what’s goin’ on,” the man responded as the woman on-camera nods in agreement.

ABC15 reported that a number of voters expressed concern to the station, that using the Sharpie markers to fill out ballots, “may have caused them difficulty voting in this year’s election.”

The station said reporters received “several messages” Tuesday and into Wednesday, allegedly from voters, who claimed that many polling stations supplied Sharpies to people, who cast ballots in person.

But, ABC15 said, “there were reports that some Sharpie-filled ballots were not counted, while others who used ballpoint pen had no issues.”

The Maricopa County Recorder’s website says “voters at home may use ballpoint pen in black or blue ink or a Sharpie.” It goes on to warn, however, that voters should not use “red and red-adjacent ink.”

“Vote Centers use fine-tip Sharpies as they have the fastest drying ink, therefore preventing smudges when put through the Vote Center tabulation equipment,” the website adds.

ABC15 correspondent, Nicole Valdes, talked to election officials late last month, during a town hall event, to discuss potential Election Day problems. At the time, officials said that even if ink — from Sharpies, for example — were to bleed through the ballot, it would not prevent it from being counted.

Maricopa County’s former deputy recorder, Kathryn Coleman, said, that if there were any concerns or if voters marked their ballots wrong, polling centers would give them a new ballot.

The station noted that, as of publication time, election officials had yet to respond to inquiries about Sharpie-marked ballots not being counted.

On Tuesday, the Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted, that Sharpies are okay to use.

“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 department noted.


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