SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Officials with the State Board of Elections is clarifying rumors concerning the use of Sharpie pens on ballots. They said if you used one to mark your ballot, your vote will be counted.
In a news release, Matt Dietrich with the SBE said, “During Election Day and in the days since, the State Board of Elections received many calls from voters around the state concerned that their polling places provided them with Sharpie pens to mark their ballots and that this might cause problems with their votes being recorded.
“Voters in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County should be aware that the Cook County Clerk’s Office and Chicago Board of Election Commissioners use Dominion Voting Systems equipment for which Sharpie fine-point pens are the recommended ballot marking utensil. Polling places using this equipment were supplied with recommended Sharpie pens for voter use.”
Another concern the SBE addressed was ink from the Sharpie pens bleeding through to cause “inadvertent marks on the reverse side.” Dietrich said voters reported they used traditional felt-tipped Sharpie markers, not the fine-point pen recommended for Dominion systems. They were concerned about the risk.
Dietrich stated ballots in Illinois are designed in a way that the “target area,” which is the oval voters fill in, on one side of the ballot would not align with the target area on the other side. “Thus, a vote on the reverse side could not be accidentally cast by ink soaking through.”
However, Dietrich said if ink did bleed through to the reverse side and make a mark “sufficiently prominent to be detected by the tabulator, the ballot would be returned to the voter for correction.”
Dietrich said the state’s 108 election authorities perform extensive testing on all equipment used for the election. That testing was done prior to every election. “This testing is designed to ensure that potential issues such as inadvertent marks on ballots or accidental use of unapproved writing tools do not cause a vote to go uncounted. Election judges are trained in procedures to ensure that ballots rejected by a tabulator can be re-made and properly recorded.”