Politics Penn misinformation bleeds into Arizona primary

Penn misinformation bleeds into Arizona primary


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Election officials in Arizona The largest county won’t soon forget #SharpieGate – The social media frenzy that erupted after the 2020 election was based on the false claim that Sharpie pens provided at the polls would destroy ballots before they were counted.

Now, Maricopa County is gearing up for Arizona’s primary election On Tuesday, the Pentel brand was repeating the same false theories in response to election officials’ announcement that it was switching to felt-tip pens on Election Day.

“Don’t use the tip pen they think they’ll try to give you,” one Twitter user wrote Thursday.

“#SharpieGate in AZ again. Bring your ball-point pens,” wrote another, in a tweet that called election officials “traitors” and accused them of trying to “rig the primaries.”

The county provides voters with felt-tip pens at the polls on Election Day because the pens contain quick-drying ink that won’t produce wet splotches that can smudge ballots or jam onsite tabulators. Those machines need to be cleaned, which causes long lines at the polls.


Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer urged voters in Tuesday’s primary on Twitter to “please” use the provided pens to avoid machine problems and ensure smooth voting.

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  • However, some social media users and prominent Republicans in the state this week encouraged voters to defy that guidance. A Republican state representative running for secretary of state in Tuesday’s election. Shawnna Bolick tweeted that she plans to bring her own ballpoint pen for in-person voting, while state Republican Party Chair Kelly Ward encouraged her Twitter followers. “Use whatever pen you want” but make sure their ballot is dry.
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    Richer said voters who bring their own blue or black pen to Tuesday’s election will not be turned away, but voters are encouraged to use the ones provided.

    “Just as we tell voters not to use red pens, not to use pencils, not to use crayons, we’re telling voters that — to help us ensure an accurate and fair election — you should use a Pentel pen. Vote in person on Election Day,” Richer said in an email to The Associated Press.

    Richer said the county switched from Sharpies to Pentel pens “after a lot of testing” because while both have quick-drying ink, Pentel pens cause less bleeding on the ballot paper. Although offset columns on county ballots prevent bleeding ink from affecting the vote-counting process, even for two-sided ballots, bleed from Sharpies in 2020 caused many poll watchers and online critics to raise alarm.
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    Some social media users expressed confusion this week about why early voters in Maricopa County could use any blue or black pen, while Election Day voters were advised to use only felt-tip pens. Answer: All early ballots submitted in person, by mail or by drop box are enclosed in envelopes and sent to central tabulation after processing, so they have enough time to dry before being counted, Richter said.

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