The eyes of the entire world are turned on the United States right now as we wait to see if Joe Biden will triumph over President Trump. As things stand right now, it looks like the former vice president has a good chance of seizing the White House even if he ultimately ends up saddled with a Republican Senate. While it wouldn’t be the ideal outcome many of us hoped for, it would be a massive victory for the American people and the future of this nation.
For his part, Trump seems convinced that he will lose if all of the votes are properly tallied. Last night, he gave a despicable authoritarian speech and claimed that Democrats are trying to steal the election from him. It was the rhetoric of a man desperate to somehow claw victory from the jaws of defeat. Not surprising, the MAGA crowd has followed his lead and its adherents are doing their best right now to sow misinformation, alleging fraud and all manner of baseless conspiracy theories.
One truly deranged and frankly hilarious narrative working its way through the right-wing digital landscape right now is something called “Sharpiegate.” The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer reports that some conservatives are claiming that Arizona Trump voters were duped into marking their ballots with Sharpie felt-tipped pen by poll workers. They claim that using such writing instruments invalidated the ballots, a patently false idea. The conspiracy theory was boosted by Mark Schlapp, President of the American Conservative Union as well as several other prominent pro-MAGA Twitter accounts.
AZ update: apparently the use of sharpie pens in gop precincts is causing ballots to be invalidated. Could be huge numbers of mostly Trump supporters. More to come
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) November 4, 2020
In Arizona, which turned blue last night, conservatives are cooking up a conspiracy theory that is already being called #SharpieGate.
The gist is they believe poll workers gave Trump supporters Sharpie markers to fill out ballots, which then somehow invalidated their votes. pic.twitter.com/qO0ppAZCDT
— Nick Martin (@nickmartin) November 4, 2020
Unfortunately for those clinging to this manufactured and baseless narrative, there is absolutely no evidence that Sharpie use invalidates ballots. The Arizona Secretary of State has already said as much as has a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department. Pima Country officials also relayed this plain fact on Twitter.
If it does bleed through, the ballot will most likely get sent for duplication so it can be read by the scanner. The image is the text from the @SecretaryHobbs Elections Manual, Chapter 10, Section D, subsection 3. 2/3https://t.co/3ANZ7oKMwZ pic.twitter.com/Kjn5H4tChL
— Official Pima County (@pimaarizona) November 4, 2020
Clearly, there is something deeply wrong with the GOP. These people are unable or unwilling to wrap their minds around the idea that anyone could reject a man like Donald Trump and so instead of recalibrating their worldview they’re receding further and further into delusion. Perhaps once their crazed leader is removed from office the spell will finally break but at this rate, it seems unlikely. Even with a Biden win, this country has a long road ahead till sanity is once again the law of the land.