The result of the election is still unclear today with several key swing states still in play including Arizona, where Joe Biden’s comfortable lead over Trump shrank overnight, wreaking havoc on the results and prompting a posse of armed Trump voters to descend on counting centers.
As tensions flared in Arizona overnight, armed pro-Trump protesters descended on a counting center in Maricopa County, after Biden’s commanding 200,000-vote lead was slashed to just 68,000 as ballots continued being tallied.
They faced off with police and security outside the counting center, chanting that every vote should be counted with the result in the balance. At least one person made it inside, forcing the center to close with staff locked in.
— 🌻🩺Destiny🩺🌻 (@Destiny3650) November 5, 2020
Biden has 264 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs to claim the White House currently. That number includes Arizona, which Fox News and the Associated Press called for him early on Wednesday despite votes still being counted. To win now, he must keep that lead and win either Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania, all of which remain undecided.
Another video footage from outside the Maricopa count center on Wednesday showed angry voters who forced an election voter to admit that sharpies have an impact on the vote even do new state laws and election officials say othervise.
— 🇺🇸🤔🇺🇸 MSTRISH KAG (@mspdcali) November 5, 2020
There has been quite a bit of speculation on whether voters should have used Sharpies to cast their ballots in Maricopa County.
Social media posts being circulated in the Phoenix area are saying that if anyone used a Sharpie to fill out their ballot, their votes could be tossed.
RJ reported that received several messages on Election Day and into Wednesday that many polling places offered Sharpies to those voting in person. However, there were reports that some Sharpie-filled ballots were not counted, while others who used ballpoint pen had no issues.
Video of voters complaining about poll workers handing them sharpies instead of pens:
— Caleb Brown (@cbreeze32) November 4, 2020
To set the record straight, Right Journalism spoke to Erika Flores, spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department.
Flores said voters can use one of three types of writing utensils to cast their ballots:
You read that correctly. Sharpies are allowed. That’s because the new tabulation equipment counts votes in a such a way that bleed-throughs are not a problem.
Not only are Sharpies accepted when filling out a ballot in Maricopa County, but they are also preferred. That’s because Sharpies have the fastest drying ink.
The one color you do need to worry about is red ink. The tabulation equipment can’t read red ink.
Did you know we use Sharpies in the Vote Centers so the ink doesn’t smudge as ballots are counted onsite? New offset columns on the ballots means bleed through won’t impact your vote! Find a location before the polls close at 7 p.m. today at https://t.co/8YEmXbWyRL. pic.twitter.com/KKG2O8rQhf
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) November 3, 2020
Election judges are now instructing voters to dab the sharpie vertically once to prevent bleed through. Regardless, there have been no issues reading ballots filled out with Sharpies. Even if a Sharpie did create a large ink blot that made the ballot difficult to read, there is a process in which a judge reviews the ballot to determine the voter’s intent. The same process occurs if a voter circles or underlines the candidate.
Sharpies with the same ballot paper were used in the primaries too, but no issues were reported then, officials said.