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Republicans sue to sideline some Pa. mail ballots


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Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA Staff
November 4, 2020
A mostly normal day, now the counting starts (and goes on and on), where to get detailed results, don't let early returns fool you, and a cookie blowout.

As Pennsylvania’s 67 counties began the painstaking process of opening and counting more than 2.5 million mailed ballots, whether or not voters were given a chance to fix errors and ensure their votes were counted depended largely on where they lived.

That inconsistency is now at the heart of an eleventh-hour lawsuit filed Tuesday by a group of Republican candidates and voters seeking for counties to set aside any ballots that voters were allowed to fix.

Some counties took it upon themselves to reach out to voters, or to inform political parties so they could do outreach, instructing people to either fix the ballot or go to a polling place and cast a provisional ballot.

Other counties did nothing.

THE CONTEXT: Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar said she strongly disagreed with the Republican contentions and believed the number of votes in question was small. But without knowing the potential margin in Pennsylvania, every vote could make a difference.

Because far more Democrats voted by mail in the state compared to Republicans, any effort to fix mail ballots would probably benefit Vice President Joe Biden more than President Donald Trump.

So now that it's Wednesday, how do you track the results? With counties counting mail ballots at different times, and with the majority of results not expected until Friday, the current picture in the state might be skewed. You can follow the results here, or use the Department of State's new dashboard to see more detailed information about the types of votes outstanding.


“When you win the lottery, you can either mail in your ticket or drop it off. Why would I mail in my million-dollar ticket?”

— Robert Williams, a registered independent in Chambersburg, on why he decided to vote in person

POST IT: Micaela Miller, on the right, waited three and half hours to vote Tuesday. That night, she returned to offer support for her friend, Lacey Delp. This time, she brought chairs, blankets, and hot chocolate. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
MAIL BALLOT CONFUSION: Perhaps not surprisingly, there were reports across the state of confusion among polls workers about what to do if someone showed up to the polls with their mail ballot packet. They should have been allowed to vote in person as long as they had all of the mail ballot materials, but some were denied or given provisional ballots.

MOSTLY COOL, CALM: Despite concerns about widespread voter intimidation and more preparations by state officials, the election was mostly calm. Civil rights groups reported isolated incidents of potential intimidation, and, without minimizing them, said the day was a success. One man accidentally shot himself in the hip outside a polling place.

BLUE SHIFT: Pennsylvania's returns might look better for Trump than how they end up in the end, because far more Democrats voted by mail and those votes will take longer to be counted in my counties. But changes in the race aren't fraud, just part of counting.

POSTAL SERVICE SWEEP: A federal judge ordered the post office to sweep its facilities in parts of Pennsylvania and other states for undelivered ballots and to move them immediately. But the post office disregarded the order, and also disclosed that more than 300,000 ballots nationwide could not be tracked.

ANOTHER RECORD: Amid Election Day festivities, Pennsylvania once again set a single-day record for new confirmed coronavirus cases. But cases aren't everything. Consider: Hospitalizations continue to rise significantly, as does the percent of tests coming back positive. The average number of deaths has increased only slightly.
» SUPPORT FEARLESS JOURNALISM: Become a member of Spotlight PA today and your contribution will be TRIPLED.

Thank you to everyone who had their gifts TRIPLED yesterday: Linda B., Sally S., Emily S., Thomas and Sonja E., John S., John K., Christina D., Jennifer B., Karen Y., Dorothy L., Gaylon M., Ed M., Kim C., Cecilia V., Russell W., Roger H., P. Condron, Doug R., Elizabeth A., Rick L., Lex M., Sandra S., Lewis G., Karen B., Jeannine T., Barry M., and Kathy O.
FAREWELL FAVORITES: If you've ever been to Kennywood Park in West Mifflin you might know the Kangaroo, Paratrooper, Bayern Kurve, or Volcano. And now, you might want to say goodbye, as the park announced it will be retiring the rides. Reactions on social media were pretty negative.

TURN TO BRUCE: If you can't take any more political prognosticating, turn to Bruce Springsteen. Whether or not you agree with his politics, there seems to be agreement that his new album, "Letter To You," is a winner.

BAREFOOT: How can one person save the world? That's the tagline of Pittsburgh filmmaker Julie Sokolow's new piece "Barefoot," chronicling the journey of a man who walked barefoot across the U.S. in 2016 and 2017. Without spoiling the film, it's got a pretty tragic ending.

COOKIE LOVERS FOR...: Lochel's Bakery in Hatboro claims to have correctly predicted the last three elections through its highly official cookie poll. The store tallied the total number of red "Trump 2020" cookies and blue "Biden 2020" cookies, and it was a blowout.

THE CEO WE NEED: The Crayola Experience in Easton has announced a new CEO — chief experience officer, that is — and it goes to 7-year-old Alex Pizolato. Among his duties for the one day he will be in charge this month: naming a limited-edition crayon to be sold at Crayola stores.
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. If you love the scrambler, make a donation and we'll TRIPLE it.

Yesterday's answer: Ceremonies

Congrats to our daily winners: Mary Ellen T., Susan D., Gail H., Craig W., Lynne E., Irene R., Tracey C., Joel S., David I., Edward M., Anne R., Dianne K., Ann S., Chris W., Ron P., Elly S., and Jeffery S. 
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