Arizona State Senator-elect Kelly Townsend, currently a State House Representative, confirms, after speaking to the Maricopa County Recorder’s office staff, that the reports of voters in Republican-leaning areas being given sharpies by poll workers that allegedly resulted in ballots being rendered unusable are now officially under investigation, and urges Maricopa County residents to aid in the effort.
In a Facebook post, Townsend wrote that she was informed that the Maricopa County Recorder’s office is “verifying spoiled ballots caused by the Sharpie incident.” Earlier today, reports surfaced that voters were given sharpies to fill out their paper ballots, which rendered them unusable, as the ballots strictly require an ink pen.
Additionally, Townsend reported that, as of Wednesday night, “the only observers there are Democrats. No Republicans have volunteered to observe.” Townsend then urged voters to contact Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelly Ward to volunteer as observers.
HOLY S**T! @kelliwardaz, WHAT IS GOING ON!?!
GET REPUBLICANS THERE NOW!!!!
This is how we lose AZ! pic.twitter.com/FnDIwz8uvG
— Chief America 1st Trumpster (President Elect) (@ChiefTrumpster) November 5, 2020
On SharpieGate, National File recently reported on a video that went viral, showing a female voter explain her experience with permanent markers at the voting booth. National File reported:
“There were two people in front of me that used the Sharpie that was given to them by the poll workers, it did not read their ballot, and they slide it in there twice. I used a pen. I took their Sharpie and threw it away and it read my ballot,” the woman said.
“They had a bowl of pens behind them that they were not giving to people and only giving Sharpies out,” she says as another woman appears to corroborate her story.
What’s more, is the woman in the video says that after posting an account of her troubles voting to a local Facebook chat, more voters described a similar experience, all seeming to revolve around a region surrounding the Town of Gilbert, a heavily Republican area.
“I posted it on my Facebook group chat in my neighborhood, they said they did it at the Queen Creek Library, they did it at ASU Polytech earlier, that like four different polling places were doing Sharpies all in – like between Queen Creek and the edge of Gilbert.”
Fact checkers claim that using sharpies does not, however, invalidate ballots despite reports that the issue is being investigated.
Election irregularities in Arizona led to an eruption of pro-Trump protests on Wednesday night that included elected representatives including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who told National File that “Biden and his thugs” will not “steal this election.”
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Senator-elect Townsend as Sen. Townsend. This article was updated to acknowledge information presented by third party fact checkers.