Trump supporters claim they were given 'sharpie markers' which cancelled their vote - All you need to know about the #SharpieGate

The counting of votes for the US Presidential elections is still underway. However, the controversies over the voting frauds are not coming to end in the US.

In one such controversy, several social media users claimed that they that ballots are being invalidated in Arizona because they were given sharpie markers in before casting their votes.

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

These voters were concerned about the bleed-through due to Sharpie Markers.

If you use a sharpie, will your vote count?

While explaining over the queries of voters, the 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 cancelled out.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential vote in Arizona, social media posts circulated falsely suggesting that votes for Trump were cancelled because people were told to use Sharpies to fill out their ballots.

Arizona election officials confirmed that Sharpies were used in voting, but they said that would not invalidate a ballot.

The Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted on Election Day that voting centres use Sharpies so that ink does not smudge when ballots are counted.

"New offset columns on the ballots means bleed through won't impact your vote!" they tweeted in an informational video.

TikTok video on Sharpies:

One video with more than 821,000 views showed a woman speaking about how four different polling places were using Sharpies and a man asks her if "those ballots are not being counted" and "are invalid." "They are invalidating votes is what they are doing," the man says. He went on to suggest voters use a ballpoint pen instead.

"People are coming here to vote for Donald Trump, and all those votes are getting invalidated," he says in the video.

Sophia Solis, public information officer for the Arizona Secretary of State, said in an email that votes would not be canceled if there was an issue with the ballot.

"If a voter's ballot is listed as cancelled, it usually means the voter made an additional ballot request if they needed to have their original ballot replaced," Solis said.

"Depending on when they returned their replacement ballot, that ballot is most likely still being processed by the county." According to the state's election procedures manual, a ballot review board duplicates ballots that cannot be read by the machine in cases where they are damaged or smudged with ink.

Videos making the false claim about Sharpies were also widely shared on TikTok. TikTok said the claims on invalidated ballots violated its policy against misleading information around the elections and would be removed. Facebook said it has blocked the Sharpiegate hashtag on its platform and pointed to fact checks on the matter by its outside fact-checkers, including The Associated Press.

While election officials took to social media to debunk the Sharpie rumours, others in Arizona were not convinced.

Republican Congressman Paul Gosar added his voice to the Sharpie claims Wednesday with a tweet that said he was reaching out to the state attorney general's office.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office sent a letter to Maricopa County election officials Wednesday demanding answers about which voting centers used the Sharpies and how many votes were rejected because of issues with the Sharpie ink.

Lawsuit over sharpies:

A woman in the Phoenix area filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging vote tabulation equipment was unable to record her ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen.

The lawsuit alleged Laurie Aguilera asked poll workers for a new ballot, but they refused her request.

She is seeking a court order that all Maricopa County voters whose ballots were rejected as a result of using a Sharpie be given a chance to fix their ballots.

Aguilera also is asking for such voters to be able to be present while election officials count their ballots.

The Maricopa County Elections Department had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

(With inputs from agencies)

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