- Republican candidate Gail Golec suggested that voters could steal pens on election day.
- She claimed that felt tip pens can bleed through the ballots and cause votes to be “adjudicated.”
- An Arizona county attorney had to tell Golec to stop encouraging theft.
A Maricopa County prosecutor sent a cease-and-desist letter on Tuesday to a local Republican candidate after she floated the suggestion that voters steal felt-tip pens.
“This morning, you tweeted advice that people should steal the pens that are provided by Maricopa County’s Elections Department in polling locations,” Rachel Mitchell, Maricopa County Attorney wrote in the letter. “As you well know, theft of any sort is unlawful; moreover encouraging theft of the fast-drying ink pens specifically recommended for election day voting is a deliberate attempt to interfere with election administration.”
Mitchell later tweeted on Tuesday, “This is a friendly reminder: Please do not steal county property.”
—County Attorney Rachel Mitchell (@Rachel1Mitchell) August 2, 2022
Golec, who is running for the District 2 seat of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, shared an idea to steal pens on election day based on a false claim that felt-tip pens are one way to “cheat” in the election. She claimed that because the ink bleeds through the ballot, it can cause votes to be adjudicated and changed.
“Felt tip pens cause overvotes, which cause adjudication where votes can be changed,” she wrote in one tweet. “Maricopa County allows for Artificial Intelligence to adjudicate. Do not buy their BS. The cheat is on!”
On Telegram, she has encouraged some to steal the pens and leave a blue ballpoint pen behind.
In response to the cease-and-desist letter, Golec defended her statements on Twitter and wrote that her “intention is to protect our vote, not encourage you to steal pens.”
There is no evidence that felt-tip pens are deliberately being used to alter votes. County election officials recommend felt-tip pens because they are fast drying as opposed to ballpoint and gel pens which can leave more reside.