Trump Supporters Push Debunked 'Sharpie Ballot' Theory, Saying Votes in Arizona Using Sharpies Weren't Counted

Hundreds of Republican Arizona voters are claiming poll workers instructed them to use Sharpies that weren't read by voting machines, a conspiratorial claim now being investigated by the attorney general's office.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told local news stations Wednesday that ballots marked with Sharpies will be counted. Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, sent a letter to Maricopa County election officials and the state's director of elections, Scott Jarrett, requesting answers to the "SharpieGate" claims.

The Maricopa County Elections Department had previously posted an information video on October 24 showing voters how to use Sharpies on their ballots in addition to regular pens.

We have received hundreds of voter complaints regarding Sharpies at polling locations. Accordingly, we sent this letter to Maricopa County election officials. Let's get some answers. Read our letter here:

— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) November 4, 2020

"We have received hundreds of voter complaints regarding the use of Sharpie brand markers ('Sharpies') to fill out ballots on Election Day at voting centers in Maricopa County. Voters are concerned that the use of Sharpies may have caused ballots to be rejected, spoiled or cancelled," reads Brnovich's letter to the state election chief.

Videos and claims emerged on social media Tuesday night into Wednesday morning from people who said their ballots were rejected due to the Sharpie marks. But several top elections officials and the Arizona Secretary of State say Sharpies were widely used and the machines did count ballots marked with the brand name markers.

"I voted in Maricopa county and was given a Sharpie. My ballot is showing Cancelled - this is criminal. On hold with the election board trying to get answers," a woman named Marcie Reichert tweeted Wednesday. "VOTER FRAUD is REAL and is HAPPENING," the post continues.

Another Twitter user claimed: "I was not given a ball point pen. They only had sharpies at my polling station. Why the f**k would they only have sharpies if they don't work? The website won't let me check my vote. Pima county claims you can only check once all ballots have been checked."

But the conspiracy and Sharpie stories on social media have prompted the GOP attorney general's office to open up an investigation and to ask complainants to detail their Sharpie experience.

"In each voting center where Sharpies were provided or made available to voters, to what extent were Sharpies used? Were other types of markers or pens provided or used and to what extent?" reads one of the questions from Deputy Solicitor General, Michael S. Catlett's letter to Scott Jarrett.

Newsweek reached out to Arizona election officials and the state attorney general's office for reaction Wednesday.

The Associated Press called Arizona for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden late Tuesday night around 12:50 a.m., with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Biden has a 93,000-vote lead over Trump.

sharpie #sharpiegate arizona republican voters
Fans wait for autographs prior to the game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on July 21, 2019 in Houston, Texas. TIM WARNER / Contributor/Getty Images