Illinois State Board of Elections

State Board of Elections Debunks ‘Sharpiegate' Theory in Illinois

The theory began during voting in Arizona's Maricopa County which remains a major player in deciding the presidential election

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The Illinois State Board of Elections reminded Thursday that voters do not need to worry if Sharpie markers and pens were used on ballots throughout the state.

Ballots marked with both fine-tipped Sharpie pens and traditional felt-tipped markers were counted in Illinois despite rumors spreading on social media of the validity of these votes, according to the State Board of Elections.

"Ballots in Illinois are designed so that the 'target area' -- the oval to be filled in to mark a vote -- on one side of a ballot does not align with a target area on the reverse side of the ballot," a release said. "Thus, a vote on the reverse side could not be accidentally cast by ink soaking through."

The State Board of Relations received calls throughout Election Day, a release said, from voters around Illinois concerned that their polling location provided Sharpie pens to mark the ballots.

In certain locations in Illinois, including spots in Cook County, use Dominion Voting Systems equipment for which Sharpie fine-point pens are recommended for processing.

Should ink bleed through the reverse side of the ballot and produce a false marking, the tabulator would detect it with this equipment, according to the State Board of Elections.

"Illinois' 108 local election authorities conduct extensive testing of all election equipment statewide before every election," a release said. "This testing is designed to ensure that potential issues such as inadvertent marks on ballots or accidental use of unapproved writing tools do not cause a vote to go uncounted."

In a Facebook post from Tuesday, an individual wrote: "Voters in Maricopa County, Ariz., were forced to vote using Sharpie pens that aren't read by voting machines."

Politifact shared this post and labeled it as "False" on the Politifact Truth-O-Meter, saying, "Sharpiegate, voter fraud claim in Arizona is False."

"Voters could use ink pens to fill out their ballots, but the county gave Sharpie markers to voters because ballots filled in with Sharpie pens are processed more precisely by voting machines," Tom Kertischer from Politifact wrote.

Kertischer attached his sources for the fact check as Maricopa County Elections Department's YouTube and Twitter pages.

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