The top prosecutor in Maricopa County, Arizona, issued a cease-and-desist notice to a Republican candidate who amplified conspiracy theories of voter fraud and told his supporters to steal pens from polling places on polling day.
Gail Golec, the GOP candidate for county supervisor, told supporters Aug. 2 to take provided markers to the ballot box, echoing baseless election-related claims that ballots would not be counted s ‘they were filled with other types of ink.
Arizona has become a hotbed of electoral conspiracy theory activity in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Prominent election deniers running for GOP nominations for Governor and Secretary of State of Arizona – the chief election administrator – are among a wave of Donald Trump-endorsed candidates seeking party nominations for November’s general election, building their campaigns around voter fraud lies in the critical state oscillating.
On her Telegram account, Ms Golec told her followers to “take the Pentel pen with you and leave a blue pen behind. They will eventually wear out! »
In her letter, Maricopa County District Attorney Rachel Mitchell asked Ms. Golec to take down her Twitter statements, “acknowledging that no one should steal pens from polling places and urging that no one should.”
“As you well know, theft of any kind is illegal; moreover, encouraging the theft of quick-drying ink pens specifically recommended for Election Day voting is a deliberate attempt to interfere with election administration and will have the detrimental effect of delaying the tabulation of ballots on Election Day. ballot, as wet ink harms the tabulation of the voting center machines,” Ms. Mitchell wrote.
Ms Golec responded on Twitter saying ‘her intention is to protect our vote, not to encourage you to steal pens’.
“Ironically, concerned about law violations, Maricopa County is really worried about people stealing the pens,” she said. “What if they were exhausted and didn’t get enough ballots in the officiating cycle?”
Ballpoint and gel pens leave more residue that could clog machines, according to election officials.
Ahead of Election Day, Maricopa County Clerk Stephen Richer urged voters to use the pens provided to avoid any issues with ballot boxes.
Despite the letter, Ms Golec repeatedly told her supporters on Tuesday to stop using the felt-tip pens provided and claimed the ballot-processing machines could not read the ink, triggering an automatic voting decision designed to “cheat” and “hack” the result. .
Likewise, false claims around what has become “Sharpie doorsuggested that election officials provided voters with Sharpie pens to intentionally interfere with Trump’s election.
Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, users of Truth Social and other social media platforms told voters to “bring your own pens” and ditch the provided Pentel pens.
Last month, far-right extremist state senator Wendy Rogers suggested that election officials are “intentionally instilling distrust” in pens. On Tuesday, she instead called the ‘pen and marker problem’ a ‘diversion’ so that ‘we don’t catch the mules and the computer fraud’.