ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s election chief rips AG Brnovich for Sharpie probe

Nov 5, 2020, 5:00 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs talks about voter...

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs talks about voter registration at Phoenix College on National Voter Registration Day in Phoenix. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs are sparring over an effort by Hobbs to introduce telephone and videoconferencing options for people to register and vote in certain circumstances. Ducey and some county election officials say the changes Hobbs seeks are illegal. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs criticized Attorney General Mark Brnovich for getting involved in the Sharpie conspiracy that has been debunked by election officials.

Hobbs’ office sent a letter Thursday stating Brnovich’s inquiry a day earlier into the usage of Sharpie markers at polling stations undermined the public’s confidence in the election process.

“The secretary is committed to overseeing a fair election and dispelling misinformation that would make that job more difficult for state and county election officials,” the letter read.

“She sincerely hopes that the attorney general shares that same goal and will join an ever-growing chorus of public officials and media sources that have correctly labeled what is now being referred to as ‘SharpieGate’ as the unfounded conspiracy theory that it is.”

Brnovich, a Republican, waded into the issue despite the assurances of Democrats Hobbs and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Brnovich said his office received hundreds of complaints about Sharpies, leading him to send a letter with questions about the markers to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

The letter included a question about why some ballots were marked as “canceled” when voters checked their status on the secretary of state’s website.

Brnovich on Thursday announced that his office found no evidence that the use of Sharpies caused disenfranchisement for Arizona voters.

“Based on correspondence and conversations with Maricopa County officials, we are now confident that the use of Sharpie markers did not result in disenfranchisement for Arizona voters,” Brnovich said.

Hobbs’ letter included detailed explanations for Brnovich’s concerns.

“To the extent you may be confronted with other political issues like this one in the future, the secretary encourages you to take steps to maintain, rather than undermine, public confidence in Arizona’s election processes,” the letter said.

lawsuit was also filed Wednesday against Fontes and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors alleging that votes were disqualified because of Sharpie usage.

The suit was filed on behalf of Laurie Aguilera, a Maricopa County voter who said she was issued a Sharpie to mark up her ballot on Election Day and that ink bled through her ballot, causing it to become invalid.

“There’s nothing there to sue us over,” Hobbs told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show on Thursday.

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Arizona’s election chief rips AG Brnovich for Sharpie probe