Michigan Secretary of State: If you use a sharpie, your vote will count

Voters at the Polls in Mattawan
Posted at 5:05 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2022-11-08 11:52:38-05

MICHIGAN — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says if you used a sharpie on your ballot, your vote will count.

"Blue or black sharpie is perfectly acceptable," Benson's office told Fox 17 via email. "Those ballots will be counted."

According to the Secretary of State's website, "The use of a Sharpie permanent marker to mark a ballot will not invalidate or cancel a ballot or vote. If the marker does bleed through to the other side, ballots are designed so that the bleed through does not touch or come near a voting area on the other side of the ballot. It will not alter or cancel any vote on the opposite side. The Sharpie is the recommended marking instrument by tabulator manufacturers and is preferable to an ink pen because it dries quickly and will not leave residue on the ballot scanner."

Social media posts suggested that the felt-tipped pens at voting precincts somehow caused votes to not be counted.

Those pens are called 'The Flair Marker', made by Papermate.

Those pens have been used for years in some parts of Michigan, including the 2016 general election, the 2018 mid-terms, and 2020 election.

Walker City Clerk Sarah Bydalek said the flair pens are actually recommended by the company that makes their ballot counters, and they aren't the only pens that are accepted at the polls.

"It’s also tested on our ballots before the election day," Bydalek said. "It says on the instructions… like for absentee voting… a blue or a black ink pen. That’s because we can’t ship everybody a papermate flair pen. So yes, a blue or a black ink pen is also very acceptable."