As the nation copes with post-Election Day anxiety, Michigan's Attorney General issued a message to disgruntled and crude citizens on Thursday.
"Dear members of the public: Please stop making harassing & threatening calls to my staff," Michigan AG Dana Nessel tweeted. "They are kind, hardworking public servants just doing their job. Asking them to shove sharpies in uncomfortable places is never appropriate & is a sad commentary on the state of our nation."
The Sharpie demands are most likely in reference to a debunked claim circulating on social media. A number of self-described Republican voters took to Facebook and Twitter to say their ballots were rejected because they had used a Sharpie pen. The conspiracy—dubbed "SharpieGate"—apparently began in Arizona, where residents shared social media videos in which they claimed some ballots were not being properly scanned because the voters used Sharpies.
Arizona officials reassured the public that the ballot machines were cable of reading ballots that were marked with Sharpies, but the rumor continued to spread and eventually made its way to Michigan.
"If you were given a black sharpie marker to fill out your ballot, call the MI number below to report your polling location," read a Facebook post, which has been flagged for false information. "The machines will successfully count your ballot but not your vote, because the machines only detect black pen ink!"
The conspiracy created so much of a stir that the Michigan Department of State addressed the claims on Twitter, insisting a Sharpie pen would not "invalidate or cancel a ballot or vote."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is projected to win Michigan, which Donald Trump in 2016. The president filed a lawsuit against the state earlier this week in an effort to stop the ballot counting. A Detroit judge ultimately dismissed the suit.