The second Arizona SharpieGate lawsuit shall meet a similar fate as the first one.
The Trump campaign said Friday in a court filing that it was backing away from a lawsuit filed in recent days that alleged that scores of voters may have been disenfranchised by how Maricopa County election workers were handling an issue with tabulators reading their ballots.
The campaign’s case was the latest iteration of a conspiracy theory that went viral on MAGA-loving social media and that was amplified by members of Trump’s inner circle. The theory started with fake but fast-spreading claims that Trump voters were purposely being given sharpies to fill out their ballots so that their votes wouldn’t be counted.
A group of conservative activists were the first to try to bring SharpieGate’s claims to court, but they sought dismissal of the lawsuit after the theory was widely debunked.
The campaign, when it filed its lawsuit on Saturday, tried to distance itself from the more bizarre aspects of the theory. Its lawyer told the court Thursday that it wasn’t alleging any fraud, but rather inadvertent errors by election workers in how they assisted voters whose ballots weren’t being read properly by the tabulators. But their own witnesses and the affidavits they filed referenced elements of the SharpieGate theory, nonetheless. Thursday’s hearing also featured the judge tearing apart the process the campaign had conducted to collect its “evidence” for the case.
On Friday, the campaign filed a notice that a ruling, as it affected the presidential race, was now “unnecessary” because of where that count stands in Arizona. According to a filing from the Arizona Secretary of State’s office Friday morning, Biden’s 11,434-vote lead over Trump was greater than the total ballots left to count. Only about 190 presidential votes were put in question by the Trump campaign’s lawsuit.