What is Sharpiegate? Arizona election officials have come out to debunk conspiracy theory that claims votes are being invalidated.
The 2020 US election is currently sitting on a knife-edge with several key states holding the keys to the White House for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.
While Joe Biden says he is confident of victory, although has not claimed to have won just yet, Trump is alleging election fraud, without evidence according to the BBC, as postal votes continue to be counted.
As part of Trump’s campaign to tarnish the election results, the President’s supporters have been seen outside counting stations in states such as Michigan demanding that election officials “stop the count.”
And now, in Maricopa County, Arizona, a fresh conspiracy theory has emerged with Trump supporters claiming to be victims of #Sharpiegate.
But just what is Sharpiegate and are the allegations of fraud credible?
What is Sharpiegate?
Sharpiegate is a conspiracy theory that has emerged in the state of Arizona, a state where the Republicans have won every year since 2000 but looks to be heading in the direction of Joe Biden in 2020.
The conspiracy theory alleges, according to the Independent citing the Associated Press, that Trump supporters in the state were given Sharpie pens to fill out their voting ballot and that doing so has been invalidating the ballots.
Since the claims about Sharpiegate have emerged, Arizona’s Maricopa County Elections Department has put out a statement on Twitter.
The county’s election department confirmed that Sharpies were indeed provided to voters in Maricopa County but that they were not invalidating or cancelling ballots.
Instead, Maricopa County’s election department said that Sharpie pens are recommended by the manufacturers of the tabulation machines used in the county due to their fast-drying ink while voters could also use blue or black ball-point pens if they chose.
No to be confused with Sharpiegate 2019
Strangely, this is the second Sharpiegate to have arisen during Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency.
In September 2019, Trump was at the centre of an argument with weather officials in the state of Alabama after the President claimed that Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest tropical storms ever recorded, would hit the state.
To support his evidence, Trump showed members of the press a map marked with a Sharpie to show that Alabama was in Hurricane Dorian’s path.
However, Hurricane Dorian did not hit Alabama and instead diverted up the United States’ Atlantic coast, hitting states such as Florida, Georgia as well as North and South Carolina.