Maricopa County won’t use Sharpie pens at polls for 2022 elections
PHOENIX — After becoming the target of conspiracy theories in 2020, Sharpie pens won’t be used at the polls during this year’s elections in Maricopa County.
County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday he didn’t want to deal with another “Sharpie-gate” conspiracy that some pushed in Arizona in 2020 that alleged bleed-through of ink on ballots was causing some to be marked at “canceled.”
The theory was quickly debunked by elections officials, but Richer wants as few potential election issues as possible.
“It’s small but emblematic of what we’re trying to do here,” Richer said. “We’re trying to continuously improve and get better at this.”
The county will shift to using a pen that dries quickly and doesn’t allow for bleed-through on ballots like Sharpies could. Sharpies, even with bleed-through, weren’t affecting the integrity of ballots.
Thicker paper will also be used at the polls, Richer said.
Richer said poll workers will give those who show up in person to vote on Election Day the appropriate writing utensils.
Voters who send in early ballots can use any pen that has blue or black ink, according to Richer.
Maricopa County unveiled its 2022 election plan on Monday and it is available to view online.
“We realize for the average voter who only tunes in every two years, it’s a process of learning every single time,” Richer said. “The more things we take out like that that can potentially cause voter confusion, the better.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler contributed to this report.