Last Updated on July 21, 2021
Maricopa County Elections Assistant Director Kelly Dixon, who made headlines in 2020 for an email stipulating that voters be required to use Sharpie markers at polling places on Election Day, donated $100 to Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly less than two months before the 2020 election.
Federal Election Commission records show that Dixon donated $100 to Democrat fundraising aggregator ActBlue on September 22, 2020. Attached to the donation was a memo stipulating that the cash was “EARMARKED FOR MARK KELLY FOR SENATE.” Kelly went on to be declared the winner in the Arizona Senate race by the margin of some 78,000 votes.
ActBlue is sometimes used by donors to make it more difficult to trace the origin of campaign donations.
As National File reported in November 2020, Dixon ordered subordinates to hand out ballpoint pens to voters from October until November 2 -the day before the election – then switch to Sharpie markers on November 3:
In an email dated October 22, 2020, Dixon explained that they are aware of significant complaints relating to issues using Sharpie markers on ballots at polling locations. Dixon explains that, until November 2, poll workers are to give out ballpoint pens instead of markers, then switch back to the markers on election day, November 3.
“Next, we’ve heard you and we know you’re hearing issues and concerns about the Sharpie Markers,” Dixon acknowledged in the email. “Starting tomorrow, 10/23, and through 11/2, we are asking that Clerks hand voters BALLPOINT PENS rather than Markers.”
However, Dixon went on to stipulate that Sharpie markers must be used on November 3: “We NEED to use Markers on Election Day, but for now and through 11/2, hand voters a Ballpoint Pen. You have plenty of pens in your supplies right now.” She concluded with directions for recipients of the email to “message this to your Inspectors and ensure they cascade this change down to everyone on the Board.”
Projections at the time indicated, and data later confirmed, that Democrats were more likely to vote early, and Republicans were more likely to show up in person on Election Day.