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The origins of Sharpiegate and preventing future voter uncertainty

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Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-07 08:51:44-05

A viral Facebook video from a Gilbert political activist helped propel Arizona's Sharpiegate, and a state legislator is looking for ways to prevent a similar event in the future.

Marko Trickovic posted to Facebook the video of him questioning two women outside the Communiversity polling site Tuesday.

The women said they saw ballots not being counted because they were marked with Sharpies. Trickovic responded, “So people are coming here to vote for Donald Trump, and those votes are all getting invalidated?” The video went viral and caused other Arizonans to post online doubting the validity of their votes. Some even alleged fraud.

Arizona election officials responded that Maricopa County started using a new kind of ballot, and Sharpies are preferred because the ink dries fast. Arizona’s Attorney General looked into complaints and concluded ballots with Sharpie ink were not being tossed out.

Trickovic previously protested COVID restrictions and launched an effort to recall Doug Ducey.

“I encourage folks to have an open mind about the changes that are made this year that are different from two years ago - that not everything is voter fraud,” said State Rep. Kelly Townsend, an east Valley Republican.

Townsend, the chairwoman of the House Election Committee, said she’s now looking at the laws to see if changes could improve voter confidence.

“What are the policies making these holes in the process that give doubt and cause chaos?” Townsend questioned. “We want people to be calm and trust in this process.“

Townsend said her priorities in election law reform would be ensuring statewide voting uniformity and a better way for all voters - early or in-person - to track their ballot status.