An election day video shot in Arizona has drawn scrutiny nationwide after voters in the hotly contested state reported being issued Sharpie permanent markers to fill out their ballots, as opposed to the standard ballpoint pen, raising concerns that ballots filled out with the markers will not be properly counted.
Filmed outside a polling location in Maricopa County, a woman on screen can be heard telling a man recording footage of the incident that poll workers were handing out Sharpies to voters, triggering vote-counting machines to reject ballots. Despite the issues, poll workers seemed to have barred the use of pens, maintaining that ballots must be filled out with Sharpies despite having pens on hand and barring voters from using their own or each other’s pens to vote.
“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.”
When the woman began alerting other voters at the polling location to the issue with the Sharpie markers, “there was a guy that directly came out and yelled at me. Three times.”
“They called the sheriffs[…]and told us to stop handing out the ballpoint pens,” the man recording responds. “In which case, those [ballots being filled out with ballpoint pens] are the only ones being counted and validated.”
“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. So people are coming here to vote for Donald Trump and those votes are all getting invalidated. There we go…Welcome to the new America, people. That’s what’s going on!”
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.