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Trump campaign joins Sharpie lawsuit against Maricopa County

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed a motion to intervene on the lawsuit claiming the use of Sharpies may have disenfranchised ballots.

PHOENIX — The Trump campaign is officially suing Maricopa County.

Attorneys for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit, filed Wednesday, that seeks a remedy for ballots that were allegedly not counted because voters used a Sharpie to fill them out.

The Arizona Democratic Party also filed a motion to intervene for the defendant, Maricopa County and its Board of Supervisors. Both motions were accepted by Judge Margaret Mahoney.

Alexander Kolodin, a Phoenix attorney, filed the suit on behalf of several plaintiffs who were concerned that their votes did not count.

The Maricopa County Elections Department said before, during and after the voting period that Sharpies are not only OK to use to mark ballots, they are preferred. 

According to the elections department, Sharpie ink dries quickly and will not smudge, and so it is great to use for marking ballots. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has also sent out guidance approving Sharpies for use in marking ballots.

After initially saying he would investigate the use of Sharpies to mark ballots, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a letter Thursday saying that he is now confident that no Arizona voters were disenfranchised by the use of a Sharpie.

Kolodin said his plaintiffs are seeking the opportunity to visit the counting center in Maricopa County to verify that their vote was indeed counted.

The attorney representing the county, Thomas Liddy, said that would be unsafe due to the pandemic, and it would also be impossible.

“The ballots have been separated from their envelopes. They’re not in any way identifiable per voter,” Liddy told Mahoney. “So the remedy that’s being requested is impossible.”

An attorney for the Trump campaign, Kory Langhofer, requested an evidentiary hearing complete with depositions and additional canvassing for impacted voters, and he said that a hearing might be held as soon as Nov. 16. 

Mahoney all but rejected that course of action, given the need for a more timely decision in this case.

Mahoney is requiring both sides to submit timelines by 11:30 a.m. on Friday. She wants to know specifically what each side wants and by when.

The attorneys for the defendants and the Arizona Democratic Party are likely to file a motion to dismiss by Monday at the latest.