Maricopa County Lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to GOP candidate over pen thefts

PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5 / AP) – Maricopa County District Attorney Rachel Mitchell sent a letter asking a county supervisor candidate to stop telling voters to steal pens being provided at polling stations while in-person voting is underway across the state. . Mitchell issued a cease and desist order to GOP candidate Gail Golec on Tuesday morning.

Golec, who is running for District 2 on the county Board of Supervisors, is spreading a baseless conspiracy claim that Pentel’s use of felt-tip pens causes bleeding and provides “ghost votes,” thus changing the outcome of the election. In response to Mitchell’s letter, she said, “Her purpose is to Protect Our Elections, not to encourage you to steal pens.”

The Arizona family and various media outlets, including the Associated Press, previously reported on “#SharpieGate,” where social media posts suggested that election officials in Maricopa County provided the Sharpie pen voters, interfered with the recording of ballots, especially those for President Donald Trump. This latest misinformation effort comes in response to an announcement by election officials that they will be switching to Pentel-brand felt-tip pens on Election Day. It should be noted that Golec has been endorsed by both former President Donald Trump and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Pentel pens were chosen because the ink dries quickly compared to ballpoint pens. Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer on Twitter urged voters in Tuesday’s primary to “PLEASE” use the provided pens to prevent mechanical breakdowns and keep voting going. out smoothly. However, some social media users and prominent Republicans in the state this week encouraged voters to defy that guidance. Republican Representative Shawnna Bolick, who is running for secretary of state in Tuesday’s election, tweeted that she plans to bring her own ballpoint pen to vote in person, while Kelli Ward, the host The state’s Republican chairwoman, encourages her Twitter followers to “Use whatever pen you want” but make sure their ballots are dry.

Richer said voters who bring their own blue or black pens for Tuesday’s election will not be turned away, but encouraged voters to use those provided.

“Just as we tell voters they shouldn’t use red pens, they shouldn’t use pencils, they shouldn’t use crayons, we are telling voters that – to help us secure an election accurate and smooth – you should use a Pentel pen if you are voting in person on election day,” Richer told The Associated Press in an email.

Richer said the county switched from Sharpies to Pentel pens “after a lot of testing” because while both have quick-drying ink, Pentel pens cause less ink to bleed on the ballot. Although offset columns on county ballots prevent ink from bleeding from affecting the counting process, even for two-sided ballots, the bleeding of Sharpies prompted many poll observers and online critics sound the alarm in 2020.

Several social media users this week expressed confusion why early voters in Maricopa County were allowed to use any blue or black pens, while Election Day voters were instructed to only Use a felt-tip pen. Answer: All early ballots, whether submitted in person, by mail, or by mail, are enclosed in envelopes and sent to the central dashboard after processing, so they enough time to dry before being counted, says Richer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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