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How PA vets its voting machines

Plus, ShotSpotter secrets.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
A message from our sponsor: 
Today: Election 'prebunking,' charter changes, surveillance network, house money, pandemic 'revenge,' and bonfire of the vanity plates.

Politicians have promoted false claims about voting machines in recent elections — and Pennsylvania officials are bracing for more of the same around this year's contentious presidential election here.

In reality, the machines undergo several layers of testing to ensure they produce accurate results in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state. 

From paper trails to pre-Election Day testing, Spotlight PA and Votebeat dug into the process to help you guard against misinformation. 

Read the full report: Elections 101: Everything you need to know about Pa.'s voting machines, how the state keeps them safe, and more.


"Pennsylvania is downwind from a lot of heavy pollution from certain upwind states, such as Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana. Because of that, we receive a lot of the pollution that’s produced in those states."

—Alex Bomstein of the Philly-based Clean Air Council on the implications of a U.S. Supreme Court case on the EPA's Good Neighbor rule

'All Sun, No Shade' Beach Towel

Get our limited edition towel in celebration of Sunshine Week, coming up March 10-16.

Promote government transparency & tan lines, all in support of Spotlight PA's vital journalism. SHOP THE PRE-SALE NOW >

A purple martin house at sunset, via Starr B. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A fiery orange sky behind a tall birdhouse.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.REFORM BILL: A bill to reform cyber charter school funding has sat in the state Senate since July. Public school administrators say it would free up millions of dollars for security upgrades, mental health services, and air conditioning in their buildings, YDR (paywall) reports. 
  • Long-sought charter school changes on the table as Pa. lawmakers plot education funding overhaul, via Spotlight PA
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.SECRET SENSORS: Leaked documents published by Wired reveal the sprawling, secretive network of gunshot detection sensors in cities like Pittsburgh, where officials are expanding the controversial technology's use despite persistent concerns about bias.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.CRISIS FUNDS: Pennsylvania home prices were up last month (+2.4% year over year) and listings were down (-20%). Against this backdrop, cities like Bethlehem are facing an affordable housing crisis, and spending millions to fix it, per Morning Call (paywall).
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
PANDEMIC RULES: The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is "seeking revenge on bars that broke pandemic rules" through "conditional licensing agreements" that present owners with a host of unattractive options, per Reason. One PLCB member said rules are rules.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.J6 CASE: A Potter County man has been arrested on Jan. 6-related charges more than three years after the U.S. Capitol siege. Authorities say Kim Eugene Decker II, 42, was one of the first people to breach police lines, and that he was caught on camera doing it.
DRAKE VS. JAGR? The "nicest hotel rooms in Pittsburgh" may have been at the center of a quiet tiff between rapper Drake and ice hockey legend Jaromir Jagr this month, according to two Penguins reporters.

THE REJECTS: PennDOT has rejected 2,872 vanity plates in its history. The Inquirer (paywall) sifted through the list and says the rejects offer a sometimes profane "window into Pennsylvanians’ minds."

OFFICE WORK: As more companies (and Philadelphia) call employees back to the office, a recently released Pitt study says doing so "may just be a power grab that doesn't affect productivity," Gizmodo reports.

BAČA CUPAfter fleeing communist Czechoslovakia, Jiří Václav Parma started a winter sports tradition in Pennsylvania that continues more than six decades later, per Radio Prague International.

ANGRY MUSICAL: The Philadelphia Inquirer's Angry Grammarian is taking his column to Substack while also launching a musical he wrote about, you guessed it, grammar. He says it's not as strange as it sounds
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.

Yesterday's answer: Neighbor

Congrats to our daily winners: Elaine C., Vicki U., Becky C., Bob C., Kimberly D., Barbara F., Stacy S., Don H., Richard A., Susan N.-Z., Jon W., Alan B., Karen W., Jane R., Judith D., Margy C., Stanley J., Janet S., Malachy M., Adrien M., Marie B., Amelia M., Jody A., Jasper L., Antonia O., Jeffrey F., Daniel S., Daniel M., Wendy A., Kim C., John P., Ada M., Tom M., William Z., and David W.
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