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We traced false election claims to one PA activist

Plus, former President Donald Trump visits Harrisburg.

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Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Monday, February 12, 2024
Today: Election claims, special contest, warning signs, Kayden's update, pot plans, Trump rally, $1M verdict, and an unofficial TikTok musical. 

On Jan. 6, 2021, as former President Donald Trump rallied his supporters, he used a statistic that, though false, was making the rounds:.

"In Pennsylvania, you had 205,000 more votes than you had voters," he screamed, throwing his arms wide open in front of thousands of angry followers. "This is a mathematical impossibility unless you want to say it's a total fraud." 

The number appears to be the work of Heather Honey, a Pennsylvania-based "election integrity" investigator whose research has achieved a remarkable level of national salience among the far right, despite being replete with errors.

Read Spotlight PA's and Votebeat's full report: This Pa. activist is the source of false and flawed election claims gaining traction across the country.


"They have literally lost everything they have. They’ve lost everybody they’ve loved, and they’ve lost their home.”

—Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer on the aftermath of the East Lansdowne shooting and fire that left six people from one family dead.
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A great blue heron grabs a snack at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, via Don N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

a bird with a fish in its beak
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.MAJORITY PARTY: Democrats regained their majority in the state House Friday with state Rep. Joe Adams (R., Wayne)'s resignation. Dems are looking to grow their narrow lead with an unrelated special election in Bucks County tomorrow, and they're sticking with abortion messaging to motivate the base. An election date to fill Adams' seat is TBD.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.EL ELECTORADO: More than 600,000 Latinos are eligible to vote in Pennsylvania this year — far more than the 80,000 votes that decided the 2020 election here. But Politico reports there are warning signs for Democrats that "traditional voting habits are fraying."
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
KAYDEN'S LAW: A bill that would change how Pennsylvania courts handle child custody disputes amid allegations of violence or abuse appears poised to become law, PublicSource reports. Supporters say it's a vital safeguard. Opponents fear weaponized allegations.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.POT PLANS: While lawmakers weigh Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's call for legal pot in Pennsylvania, advocates say cannabis arrests must end now — not after prohibition. Pennsylvania's biggest medical marijuana corporations are singing a different tune.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.STILL FAITHFUL: Former President Donald Trump made a pitstop in Harrisburg on Friday, addressing members of the National Rifle Association. Some supporters told The Inquirer that they are not deterred by his legal challenges and welcome Trump using campaign donations to cover the costs
🤔 PA NEWS QUIZ: Think you know what's happening in Pennsylvania? Prove it with the latest Great PA News Quiz: Shapiro's big budget, cannabis cash, state House control, and a bogus voter fraud claim.
$1M VERDICT: A jury has awarded UPenn professor and climate scientist Michael Mann $1 million in his defamation suit against a pair of conservative writers who compared his work to the Jerry Sandusky case, via AP.

TIKTOK MUSICAL: There is an official Groundhog Day musical, and then there's the unofficial one coming to life on TikTok. The Inquirer (paywall) says the songs focus on Punxsutawney Phil's marriage.

BIG GIG: Five years after he was fired from the show over anti-Asian and homophobic jokes made on a podcast, Mechanicsburg native Shane Gillis is set to host Saturday Night Live on Feb. 24. Reaction has been swift.

LOW INTEREST: When over 2,000 people were offered a free subscription to two Pennsylvania papers, barely anyone accepted, a new study found, Columbia Journalism Review reports.

SUPER RECORD: These three longtime friends including one from Pennsylvania have attended every Super Bowl, and the streak is still alive after attending No. 58
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Halftime

Congrats to our weekly winner: Leslie B.

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