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“No merit” to felt-tip pen controversy surrounding ballots

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It was all over social media late on election night, if you used a felt-tip pen to fill out your ballot will it be rejected?

The Pima County Elections Department received constant calls from voters concerned about the issue, but the elections department said you don't need to be worried.

Pima County posted on Twitter, saying that the felt-tip pen ballot controversy is false and the ballot tabulating machines they use can read ballots marked with a felt-tip pen.

After speaking with Mark Evans from the Pima County communications office, he told News 4 Tucson that if a ballot does have a bleed mark, stain, or another issue with it, it will be sent for duplication so it can be read by the scanner.

That's the case in Maricopa County too. They tested sharpies and even put out videos in advance of the elections, saying they're safe to use.

"We have new tabulation equipment that only reads the ovals."

Erika Flores with the Maricopa County elections department adds the ovals on the back do not line up with the ovals on the front.

"Even with that bleed through it's not filling any other oval on the other side," said Flores.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs echoed all of this in an interview Wednesday saying Arizona voters have nothing to be worried about.

"We have ways to count them, they're going to be counted. There is absolutely no merit to saying that this was some sort of conspiracy to invalidate republican ballots it just, there is (nothing) there at all," said Hobbs.

They also mention that ballots where voter intent can be discerned will be counted and that no ballots will be discarded because of the method used to fill in the ovals.

"These are experts that we can trust these are people that work for our communities, they know what they're talking about, they're not gonna try to mislead us in that regard," said Jackson Alvey, a Tucson resident.

If you dropped off a ballot on Election Day, there is no way for you to track it. However, Pima County says no ballots done in-person on Election Day were rejected, meaning if you filled yours out it will count.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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