Arizona Secretary of State Smacks Down ‘SharpieGate’ Conspiracy: Ballots ‘Are Going To Be Counted’


Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs strongly defended her state’s process for conducting the election and counting ballots on Wednesday, describing their poll watching methods to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer — and smacking down an online conspiracy theory for good measure.

With Wisconsin and Michigan both being called for Joe Biden, President Donald Trump’s path to 270 electoral college votes has become increasingly narrow but not impossible. The votes being counted in remaining states like Arizona are understandably under a high degree of scrutiny.

Blitzer asked Hobbs about accusations on social media of “nefarious things” happening as the ballots were being counted, and for her to explain what safeguards they had in place.

Hobbs confirmed that both parties had observers in the rooms where the ballots were being counted, and moreover, there were cameras livestreaming the entire process that could be watched by anyone on the websites for the county supervisors.

The pace of the counting was completely normal as well, Hobbs continued. “We never have all of the ballots counted on Election Night. That’s just never going to happen. And it is normal that we are still counting ballots right now.”

“It is normal,” Blitzer agreed. “Again, the American people just need to have patience with the process as you go through it.”

Looking at the latest vote count, Blitzer asked if that margin held, if it would be outside the recount provisions of Arizona law, and if she expected any legal challenges from the Trump campaign or Republican Party.

“That is outside of our recount provisions, yes,” Hobbs confirmed, and “they don’t have a legal pathway to challenge. We are legally counting valid ballots and there’s not a way to stop that.”

Blitzer then brought up the claims that some conservative leaders were pushing on social media, that voters in Republican-leaning precincts were given Sharpie markers to use to fill out their ballots, which bled through the paper and prevented their votes from being counted.

“Have you heard of that? Is there any truth to that claim?” he asked.

“Yes, I’ve been talking about markers all day today,” she replied. “Certainly, I want to validate voters who have concerns about their ballots being counted.

“There is no concern about ballots being counted because of the pen that was used to mark the ballots,” she stated. “All of those ballots are being counted and even if the machines can’t read them for some reason, a marker bled through to the other side, we have ways to count them. They are going to be counted. There is absolutely no merit to saying that this was some conspiracy to invalidate Republican ballots. There is no there there at all.”

Hobbs also posted several tweets on the issue, addressing both the concerns about counting ballots that might be unreadable by the machines and why some voters saw “canceled” in their online voter records.

“If you voted a regular ballot in-person, your ballot will be counted,” tweeted Hobbs, “no matter what kind of pen you used (even a Sharpie)!” Voters who requested a mail-in ballot but then decided to vote in person had their records for the mail ballot marked as “canceled” so that their in-person vote could be counted, once it was confirmed that they did not attempt to vote twice.

Watch the video above via CNN.

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