On Oct. 17 and Oct. 21, the Maricopa County Recorder’s office – who is responsible for managing and maintaining all public records in the county – specifically stated permanent markers “may result in a false read by our ballot tabulation machines.”
From the Recorder’s website on Oct. 21, with my emphasis added.
13. Do I need a special pen to mark my ballot?
A standard black or blue ballpoint pen is sufficient. Do not use red ink or permanent marker. This may result in a false read by our ballot tabulation machines.
The website was changed either on Monday, Nov. 2, or sometime between Oct. 21 and Nov. 2 to read the following.
Voters at home may use ballpoint pen in black or blue ink or a sharpie. Vote Centers use fine tip sharpies as they have the fastest drying ink, therefore preventing smudges when put through the Vote Center tabulation equipment. This is one of the upgrades of our new equipment and new ballots. Do not use red or red-adjacent ink.
The videos you’re seeing online are a direct result of the incompetence of the Recorder’s office, making a significant change to guidelines immediately prior to the election. Voters showed up with their own pens – it is COVID times after all – and some were instructed not to use their pens and use fine tipped sharpies instead.
So let’s be clear. Voters who read the FAQs and got information about voting on or possibly after Oct. 21 were specifically told not to use permanent markers as their vote might not be counted correctly. Then they show up on election day and are handed permanent markers, and in some cases told not to use their own pen.
On the day of the election they had every right to be concerned.
Let me be the first to call it … Sharpiegate.
Since the Internet’s Wayback Machine does have the ability to remove cached views they have on their servers, I’ve taken screenshots of the page from Oct. 17, Oct. 21 and Nov. 2.
The URL to view is here – https://recorder.maricopa.gov/site/faq.aspx
Wayback Machine Cached Pages