Arizona AG says Sharpie usage on ballots did not disenfranchise voters


A Sharpie brand marker sits on a table in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. – Allegations of fraud and foul play in the 2020 election spread across the internet on November 4 as officials counted ballots in battleground states that will determine the outcome of the closely fought vote between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Some claimed that Arizona voters were pushed to use Sharpie pens on their ballots in a bid to make them unreadable and keep votes for Trump from being counted. But officials — including Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — said using a Sharpie would not invalidate ballots, while voters also had the option of bringing their own pens. (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (NewsNation Now) —  Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Thursday that his office found no issues with the use of Sharpies in Maricopa County, Arizona, a key battleground in the presidential election.

The Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the Director of Elections and Emergency Voting for Maricopa County Elections Department requesting information about the use of Sharpies after several claims of voter disenfranchisement.

According to Brnovich, Sharpies are the preferred instrument to mark ballots because the manufacturer of the Maricopa County vote tabulation machines recommends them. This fact debunks several claims that the use of Sharpie pens made ballots become canceled or tossed aside because the machine could not count their vote.

“The county – which includes Arizona’s biggest city, Phoenix – last year rolled out new tabulation equipment that made Sharpie pens the best option on Election Day because they have the fastest drying ink,” said Megan Gilbertson, the Maricopa County Elections Department’s communications director.

Earlier in the week, Laurie Aguilera filed a lawsuit with the state claiming that voting machines couldn’t read her ballot because of the Sharpies. The lawsuit also claimed that not everyone was given a Sharpie, so using the pen failed to provide a “maximum degree of uniformity.”

Aguilera’s claims were echoed on social media by voters in Arizona, Chicago, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in recent days. Brnovich said those claims are false.

“Sharpie markers were made available at all 175 voting locations, and the poll workers in all locations were instructed to provide voters with Sharpie markers to mark their ballots,” Brnovich said.

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