Maricopa County won’t use Sharpie pens at polls for 2022 elections

May 5, 2022, 4:00 PM

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)...

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Two Tucson men sentenced after highway death of 17-year-old...

Two Arizona human smugglers sentenced for death of migrant

Two Tucson men were sentenced last month for their roles in the death of a 17-year-old migrant in 2022, authorities said.

2 hours ago

(KTAR News Photo)...

Mike Broomhead

Amazing Arizonans: Michael Bidwill talks Cardinals origin, 2024 draft and community outreach

On this episode of Amazing Arizonans, Mike Broomhead has a great conversation with CEO of the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Bidwill.

2 hours ago

Split image of a headshot of Junelle Cavero on the left and a sign on the wall of the state capitol...

Kevin Stone

Arizona House Democratic caucus back to full strength with Junelle Cavero’s appointment

The Arizona House Democratic caucus is back to full strength after Junelle Cavero was appointed Tuesday to fill a vacant south Phoenix seat.

2 hours ago

The Phoenix Zoo's baby goats have been named after the public made their selections. (Phoenix Zoo P...

Danny Shapiro

Here’s what the public decided to name the baby goats at the Phoenix Zoo

Five baby goats born at the Phoenix Zoo last month now have names after more than 3,300 people voted on each set of kids.

2 hours ago

A Phoenix kindergarten teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM's Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos' Pay T...

Phoenix kindergarten teacher wins Bruce and Gaydos’ teacher tribute for March

A Phoenix kindergarten teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM's Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos' Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for March, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

10 hours ago

The closure began after reports alerted authorities of a man climbing the I-10 bridge near 7th Aven...

Interstate 10 in Phoenix reopens in both directions after freeway fence climber causes shutdown

A man who climbed the I-10 freeway bridge near Seventh Avenue caused a shutdown of both the eastbound and westbound lanes Tuesday night.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Maricopa County won’t use Sharpie pens at polls for 2022 elections