Those rumors sparked outrage among protesters on Wednesday night, and spurred a lawsuit – involving the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee – submitted to Maricopa County elections official.
Rumors began circulating on social media on Wednesday that voters in the battlefield state of Arizona who used Sharpie pens on their ballots would not be counted. That confusion caused state officials, election supervisors and a top Trump administration official to push back the “#SharpieGate” rumor.
The video was filmed by Marko Trickovic outside Communiversity at Queen Creek County in Maricopa County. don’t count? “She replied,” Yes. ”
Overnight, a massive protest broke out outside the Maricopa County Elections Department when protesters, some of them armed, shout, “Stop stealing!” and raised concerns about using Sharpies. Meanwhile, election officials – followed by observers from Democrats and Republicans – diligently count the votes inside while the sheriff’s department stands outside the doorway, CNN’s Kyung Lah reported. . The next morning, the Maricopa County Elections Department reconfigured the front parking lot to handle more expected rallies.
“I don’t understand the targets of these protesters. Of course we will count all the votes. We have a legal obligation to do that,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said of the rally protesters. center in Maricopa County Wednesday night’s vote count center – some of them armed – and urges every ballot to be counted.
Both sides intervened in the lawsuit
On Wednesday, two voters filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and the Maricopa Supervisory Board, the election officials of Arizona’s most populous county, over using Sharpie pens to fill out ballots.
At Thursday’s hearing, a judge allowed Trump’s campaign and the RNC to intervene, as well as a proposal from the Arizona Democratic Party.
The lawsuit seeks class action on behalf of voters, claiming that the use of Sharpies resulted in “untold votes or improper human trials”, which could lead to votes are not recorded correctly. It requires any such ballot to be “cured”, or properly recorded. It also requires election officials to allow voters who have filled out their ballots with a Sharpie pen present during the review process to observe the vote count and be able to arbitrate their intentions on the ballots. ballots that cannot be read by the voting machine.
It included a statement by a poll worker that he had had difficulty running ballots through a tablet on Election Day: “The ballots rejected by one machine were tried on the other and In different directions, always fails. For these reasons, I believe the problem is with the use of the grinder at the polling site. “
State election officials have denied the idea that Sharpies-filled ballots are being canceled.
“This has received a lot of national attention,” Kolodin told CNN.
The Secretary of State of Arizona, AG confronts Sharpies
The letter asked Maricopa County Elections a number of questions, including which polling places used Sharpies and how many votes were rejected. A copy was also sent to the Arizona Secretary. Maricopa County’s attorney responded with a letter inviting Brnovich to watch a demonstration of the voting and tabulation process, saying that all voters in the county were encouraged to use Sharpies and said “no leaves. Any ballot is rejected at polling centers. “
The state’s chief election director, Bo Dul, responded in a letter Thursday on behalf of the Arizona secretary of state expressing hope that the attorney general “would stop maintaining a conspiracy theory that undermines the hard work of the state. Arizona electoral administrators, polling officers and voters, “and reject” the erroneous assumption that using Sharpies on a ballot causes the ballot to be rejected, corrupted or canceled. That’s simply not true. “
Krebs, a Trump senior nominee and top network official, echoed the chorus of election officials trying to stop the spread of misinformation and concerns about the use of Sharpie .
He is also affiliated with the Electoral Integrity Partnership, a coalition of research organizations that focuses on minimizing efforts to delegate election results. The organization said there was “no evidence of voter deprivation by making sharp points at the polling stations. The election officials provided voters with permission to write. “
Sharpies can be used in many states “without problems”, depending on the type of tabulation system used, according to the Electoral Integrity Partner, which added that “#SharpieGate” continued Continuity spread on Wednesday, despite efforts by election officials and platforms to slow popularity.
The officials insisted that all votes will be counted
On its rumor-controlled website, the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency warned people that it is not true that polls are only giving specific writing tools, for example. like Sharpies, for some voters to get their ballot rejected.
In fact, “election officials provide approved writing tools to mark ballots for all direct voters using hand-marked paper ballots,” the warning said. .
Hobbs sought to reassure voters that their vote would count.
Hobbs told CNN on Wednesday: “There is no concern that the votes are counted because the pen is used to mark ballots. “All those ballots are being counted and even if the machine cannot read them for some reason, a marker flows through the other side, we have a way to count them. They will be counted. “
She added that “it is of no value to say that these are some of the conspiracies to invalidate the Republican Party votes.”
Election officials say ink dries more slowly from a ballpoint pen could cause stains on the mylar film in tabletop processing equipment.
“We supply Sharpies. Poll workers tell voters using Sharpies. We do not want voters to use ballpoint pens because of problems they may cause with board writers,” said Maricopa County Elections spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said, adding that the Sharpies had been cleaned after each use.
Gilbertson said poll workers repeatedly asked the woman featured in the viral video to stop giving the ballpoint pen to voters and told them “that Sharpies ballots will be void”.
“She won’t comply, so we asked a plainclothes deputy sheriff to talk to that citizen and provide her with the information needed to stop sharing false information,” Gilbertson said. there”.
CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed to this report.