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‘Sharpie gate’ cleared up for concerned NH voters

Sharpie bleed-through on ballots will not disqualify them, according to NH election officials.
Sharpie bleed-through on ballots will not disqualify them, according to NH election officials.(WCAX)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:03 AM EDT
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HANVOER, NH. (WCAX) - Voter confusion in New Hampshire over absentee ballots known as “Sharpie gate” is being cleared up.

Town residents in Hanover were frantically calling the clerk’s office saying that the Sharpie markers they used to pick their candidates was bleeding through to the other side of the ballots. Voters were concerned it would disqualify their vote. According to New Hampshire’s Secretary of State’s office, #2 pencils or ballpoint pens are best for ballots, but sharpies will still work, even if they bleed through, since they don’t go over circles on the backside of the ballot. Hanover officials double-checked the ballots in the machine this past weekend.

“I certainly wanted to put some ballots in that represented this Sharpie bleed-through that had caused a lot of churning locally. And I am glad to report, first hand, that the ballots were read correctly. So, not only was I assured that they would be, I now know first hand,” said Hanover Town Clerk Betsy McClain.

The town of Hanover alone sent out roughly 4,000 absentee ballots for the general election. That is way up from years past and represents a little more than a third of all registered voters. Officials are reminding voters to make sure they sign the certificate included with ballots before returning them.

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