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Pa. GOP sues again over mail-in ballot deadline


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
October 26, 2020
More election rulings and suits, Tree of Life after two years, company secrets, surging cases, and a "candypult." Somehow, it's Monday again?

In the latest in a flurry of rulings leading up to Election Day, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Friday counties can't reject mail-in or absentee ballots if the signature on the envelope does not match the signature on file.

“We decline to read a signature comparison requirement into the plain and unambiguous language of the election code,” the justices wrote in their unanimous decision.

Already, about a million registered Democrats and 300,000 registered Republicans in Pennsylvania have returned ballots for the November election.

The Context: The ruling provided more clarity as Pennsylvania approaches Nov. 3, likely reducing the number of challenges to mail-in ballots. It was the latest in a slew of partisan court cases about voting in the commonwealth.

Last month, the state's highest court upheld the use of satellite election offices and drop boxes to collect ballots. The court also extended the deadline for mail-in ballots to be received to Nov. 6, rather than Nov. 3.

That deadline extension was left intact after the U.S. Supreme Court in a 4-4 decision declined to intervene. But that ruling is now being challenged in two new lawsuits: one brought by a Republican congressional candidate and four voters, and another by the state GOP party

Both of those new suits could have very different outcomes after the U.S. Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett this week, as is widely expected.


“Some of us, as a collective, are still healing. We had different levels of injury to begin with. But I’m ready to move on, to carry this forward and make it positive.”

–– Audrey Glickman, a member of Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, on the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting that took place at the synagogue 
POST IT: A great shot of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, courtesy @smithcreateSend us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
A SECRET: A recent court ruling will allow Pa. utility companies to continue to conceal information related to their planning and potential hazards, Spotlight PA reports. The court said the state's public records agency has no authority to compel the companies to release confidential information after a resident sought more information about the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline system.

'IT'S HISTORIC': Those are the words of a Dauphin County judge who gave the green light to the Hershey Company's plan to open six free childhood centers across the state, Spotlight PA reports with The Philadelphia Inquirer. The $350 million project will serve 900 lower-income Pennsylvania children.

DOUBLE-EDGED PROPOSAL: Gov. Tom Wolf last week proposed waiving liquor license fees in 2021 to help ailing bars and restaurants. But as TribLIVE reports, while the proposal could help business, it could also harm municipalities' bottom lines.

COVID SURGE: The long-feared fall resurgence is here. Pennsylvania hit an all-time pandemic high on Friday in single-day cases, and Saturday's totals almost surpassed Friday's. Hospitalizations are also on the rise, and you can follow it all on our coronavirus live tracker (the tracker had a brief outage last week, if you got our email and couldn't see it). 

THE KEY(STONE) STATE: With Pennsylvania still expected to be a key state on Nov. 3, the New York Times highlighted the state's steel and manufacturing industries as a glimmer of hope for Trump, while The Inquirer toured the state's politically divided and competitive landscape.

» TODAY WE CHAT, TOMORROW WE VOTE: Join us at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2 to ask all of your questions about what to expect from election week. Our political experts will be fully caffeinated. Register for free now!

ELECTION CHEER: A roving band of volunteers brought musical entertainment to polling places in Philadelphia last weekend and will be back again on Election Day. One of their stops went viral.

OUCH: Penn State football took a big hit this weekend. The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions lost a heartbreaker to Indiana in OT in a major upset. Come on, he didn't break the plane

SOCIAL DISTANCING 2.0: Still worried about how to safely get candy to your neighborhood's trick-or-treaters? Take a page from this York County family and build your own "Candypult." Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.

YOU BETTER VOTE: Two drag queens known for their time on "RuPaul's Drag Race" are working to get out the vote in Pennsylvania. Peppermint and Bob the Drag Queen are specifically trying to encourage LGBTQ residents to vote by mail or show up on Nov. 3.

NEXT TIME, CALL FIRST: A Downingtown barbershop owner was quite surprised when she showed up for work last week and found an unexpected customer waiting: a deer. Surveillance video shows the buck crashed through a window and then waited inside for his trim.  

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Friday's answer: Superstition

Congrats to our weekly winner: Tish M. 

Congrats to our Friday winners: Chip K., Karen A., Steve D., Bill C., Craig W., Susan C., Brandie K., Chris W., Tracey C., Gail H., George S., Lynne E., Heidi G., Edward M., Dianne K., June P., Patricia R., Carol D., Jill A.S., Al F., Mary Ann M., Karen W., Theodore W., Ann and John, Robin C., Ron P., Irene R., John H., Mike W., Kim S., Joel S., Robert S., Kelly K., Carl K., Anne E., Lynne P., Karen M., and Chris M. 
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