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

(Facebook Photo)...

Police in Mesa investigating 4 shootings that killed 3 men, injured 1 woman

Police in Mesa are investigating the deaths of three men and one injured woman discovered Friday night involved in four separate shootings.

18 hours ago

Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican watch ...

Judge denies Maricopa County’s request for sanctions against Kari Lake

A judge on Friday ruled not to award sanctions sought by attorneys for Maricopa County against Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

18 hours ago

(Photo by Alexandra Aley/Cronkite News)...

Gas prices increase throughout Arizona at start of holiday weekend

Just in time for the long holiday weekend, gas prices in Arizona have increased after dropping for a few days

18 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Associated Press

Maricopa County report lists 4 heat-related deaths so far this year

Maricopa County officials say there have already been four heat-related deaths in 2023.

18 hours ago

More homes are being planned for the Asante master-planned community in the far West Valley. (Mark ...

Angela Gonzales/Phoenix Business Journal

Homebuilders set to construct 2,700 homes in West Valley community

Three national homebuilders are working their way through planning and zoning to add 2,700 more homes in Surprise.

18 hours ago

Longtime Phoenix, Arizona, concert promotor Danny Zelisko lost a close friend remembers Tina Turner...

Kevin Stone

Valley concert promotor Danny Zelisko remembers Tina Turner: ‘She just became a friend’

While the world lost another hero when Tina Turner died this week, longtime Valley concert promotor Danny Zelisko lost a close friend.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

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