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Pa. children's hospital warns of 'catastrophic situation'


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Yaasmeen Piper
November 12, 2020
Late-arriving ballots, a prison threat, virtual schooling, state House milestone, COVID-era santas, and National Happy Hour Day(!!) Cheers, it's Thursday.

There's been A LOT of talk about the state Supreme Court's decision earlier this year to allow counties to count mail ballots that were sent by Election Day but arrived up to three days late. The issue was so divisive politically a GOP-led case is pending consideration before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The question has always been, if those ballots are invalidated, how many are we talking? Well, now we know.

The Department of State reported this week that roughly 10,000 ballots arrived between 8 p.m. Election Day and 5 p.m. last Friday. Counties are keeping the ballots segregated, pending the high court's consideration of the challenge and the potential that the justices could strike down the extension.

We also now know these ballots wouldn't be enough to change the outcome in Pennsylvania, where President-elect Joe Biden currently has nearly 50,000 more votes than President Donald Trump.

THE CONTEXT: It's important to remember that counties are not required to certify their results until Nov. 23. And between that process and ongoing litigation from Republicans, local election officials are plenty busy. 

Counties are still working through 37,239 military and overseas ballots, as well as 94,000 provisionals. Some good news: Many Pennsylvanians heeded reminders to turn in their mail ballots with both the secrecy and outer envelopes. In Philadelphia, just 1% of 350,000 ballots returned were "naked" and thus invalid.

As we get a clearer picture of the results, we also get a clearer indication that there are so far no active legal challenges that would come close to changing the results of the election. And we'll once again remind you that, within Pennsylvania, Republicans did exceedingly well in that same election.


“We just want the playing field to be even for everyone."

— Keisha Emile, a West Philadelphia resident, asking President-elect Joe Biden to deliver on police and education reform

POST IT: Thank you, @deshaphotos.online, for this golden-hour shot of Saint Joseph Catholic church in Jim Thorpe. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
MAJOR THREAT: A serious coronavirus outbreak is unfolding inside the Pennsylvania prison facility for medically vulnerable inmates diagnosed with cancer or other health problems, Spotlight PA reports. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are urgently pushing for a release plan.

TEAM PLAYERS: Some notable Pennsylvanians have been named to President-elect Joe Biden's transition team. TribLIVE reports that former state Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and a few state professors are on the list.

VIRTUAL REALITY: The state's teachers union is calling for nearly 40 of the state's 67 counties to return to fully remote learning, PennLive reports. The Inquirer reports the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is echoing these calls and warning of a "catastrophic situation" building.

MAKING HISTORY: Jessica Benham made history this election season by becoming the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the state legislature, Pittsburgh City Paper reports. Benham, who will represent part of Pittsburgh and its suburbs, will also be the first openly autistic member of the General Assembly. 

DERMODY OUT: House Minority Leader Frank Dermody has conceded, which means the race is on to succeed him as leader of the chamber's Democrats. The Capital-Star breaks down his loss and the lawmakers who want to take his place.

Oops: A shout out to Shawn T. for pointing out that in the Nov. 10 edition of PA Post, we incorrectly stated how much of the state's fiscal year remains. There are seven months left, not five. Get that man some Spotlight PA swag!
» THIS IS JOURNALISM WE NEED RIGHT NOW: Become a member of Spotlight PA today and your contribution will be TRIPLED.

Thank you to everyone who had their gifts TRIPLED yesterday: Nathan G., Carl K., Sylvia B., Beverly H., Elizabeth S., Elizabeth W., Lesley E., Fatima R., Carol D., Ellen K., and Andrew S.

ONE OF A KIND: These Lehigh Valley residents reflected on their time on “Jeopardy!” and with the late Alex Trebek, who died Sunday at 80 of pancreatic cancer. “He was such a positive presence for so many people, very steadying,” one contestant Ryan Bilger said. “No matter what’s going on in your life, you can turn on that TV and there’s Alex asking questions."

CHEERS: Friends, it's National Happy Hour Day. Enjoy your own happy hour at home by making some of these fall-inspired cocktails.

STILL COMING TO TOWN: Despite COVID-19, Santa still needs to make sure Pennsylvania's kids are rewarded for being nice. In the Harrisburg area, Ol' Saint Nic is sitting behind plexiglass, wearing a face shield, and having his temperature taken regularly

THANKFUL WATCHING: Unfortunately, there aren’t many Thanksgiving-themed movies, but, fortunately, they do exist. Here’s a list of 45 Thanksgiving films to watch during this holiday season. Or you could stick with football.

HELPFUL HUNTERS: Are you a hunter with an extra deer on your hands? The state's agriculture secretary is urging people to donate venison to help cut into food insecurity here in the Keystone State

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.
H R C N E E D N E T 

Yesterday's answer: Nocturnal 

Congrats to our daily winners: Edward M., Chris W., Thomas B., Jeffery S., Sue S., John C., Robert S., Anne R., Lynne E., Joel S., Craig W., Dianne K., Mary Ellen T., Ron P., Kim C., Irene R., and Carol D.
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