presidential election

‘SharpieGate' Conspiracy Concerns Flood NY Election Officials

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A ballot-counting conspiracy debunked by election officials and reporters in Arizona has now reached the Empire State, election officials announced Friday.

In what's come to be known as #Sharpiegate, social media posts suggest that election officials in Arizona's Maricopa County provided voters with Sharpie pens, which interfered with ballots being recorded, specifically those for President Donald Trump.

Arizona election officials say that voting with a Sharpie would have no impact on the votes being recorded by tabulation machines, and if there was an issue, there is a process that would keep the ballots from being canceled out.

In a statement emailed out to press on Friday, New York election officials say calls and emails are inundating staff with concerns stemming from the misinformation started about the Arizona ballot count.

"The State Board of Election would like to advise all voters, the voting machine/scanner will accept and count a ballot marked by any pen, marker or pencil, blue or black ink, ball point, felt-tip or 'sharpie,'" the BOE said.

Repeated calls and emails are slowing down staff that have other duties related to finishing vote counts, state officials said.

NBC News' correspondent Gadi Schwartz debunked the conspiracy by demonstrating election officials' explanation that sharpies are not only allowed to complete ballots, but encouraged due to the speed with which their ink dries.

Clint Hickman, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Steve Gallardo, the board's only Democrat, published a letter to voters expressing concern about misinformation. They said officials tested a wide variety of pens with their vote-tabulation equipment and “Sharpies are recommended by the manufacturer because they provide the fastest-drying ink.”

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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