Trump Allies Are Pushing #SharpieGate Conspiracy Theory To Claim Election Theft

Written by on November 4, 2020

Allies of President Donald Trump are selling a baseless conspiracy concept that ballot employees tricked Trump voters by offering them with Sharpies to solid their votes, after which rejected the ballots as a consequence of the usage of the marker. 

The idea, trending as #SharpieGate on social media, seems to have first emerged in Arizona and has since unfold to components of Pennsylvania. The claims are unfaithful: Election officers in each states have confirmed that Sharpies are a suitable writing instrument for filling out ballots and that ballots will not be being rejected as a consequence of Sharpie use. 

“The felt-tip pen poll controversy burning by way of social media is fake. Don’t get caught up in it,” the federal government of Pima County, Arizona, tweeted Wednesday. “All ballots during which voter intent may be discerned can be counted,” the county wrote. “No ballots can be discarded due to the strategy used to paint within the ovals.” 

However a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals could also be seeing the conspiracy concept anyway, as Trump allies are simply in a position to market it on social media platforms resembling Fb, Twitter and TikTok. Arizona Lawyer Basic Mark Brnovich, a Trump ally, has additionally boosted the idea. On Wednesday afternoon, he mentioned his workplace obtained “a whole bunch of voter complaints relating to Sharpies at polling places” and despatched a letter to Maricopa County demanding solutions. 

One early promoter of the SharpieGate concept is an Arizona actual property agent named Marko Trickovic, who has accused the state’s Republican governor of being a “tyrant” for implementing restrictions aimed toward limiting the unfold of COVID-19. 

In a video Trickovic posted to Fb Tuesday evening, a girl claimed to have seen ballot employees pushing voters to make use of Sharpies and blocking them from accessing common pens. She mentioned she witnessed ballots marked with Sharpies getting rejected however that her poll, marked with a daily pen, was accepted. Fb positioned a warning over the video, indicating that it contained false info — but it surely nonetheless has been shared on the platform greater than 100,000 occasions. 

Trump boosters have since unfold the declare on Twitter, as they push a false narrative that Democrats are stealing the election. College students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier acknowledged as truth to his greater than 1 million followers that “individuals actually had their votes cancelled as a result of they got a sharpie on the polls.” Girls for Trump co-founder Amy Kremer informed her 62,000 followers that SharpieGate “is all over the place,” and Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp shared the idea along with his 230,000 followers. 

Twitter has labeled Fournier’s and Schlapp’s tweets as containing “disputed” or “deceptive” details about the election. 

Election officers in Arizona and Pennsylvania are working to cease the misinformation and guarantee voters that utilizing a Sharpie is not going to invalidate their ballots. 

In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, election officers provide Sharpies to voters in all precincts as a result of “Sharpie pens are really useful by our voting machine vendor,” Kelly Cofrancisco, a spokesperson for the county’s board of commissioners, informed HuffPost in an e-mail. 

“Do you know we use Sharpies within the Vote Facilities so the ink doesn’t smudge as ballots are counted onsite?” the Maricopa County Elections Division in Arizona tweeted on Tuesday earlier than the manufactured controversy erupted. 

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ pinned tweet at present reads, “IMPORTANT: In the event you voted a daily poll in-person, your poll can be counted, it doesn’t matter what form of pen you used (even a Sharpie)!”

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