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Is fraud evidence needed for Pa. recount requests?

Plus, how local races will impact the 2024 presidential election.

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Friday, March 3, 2023
Dueling rulings, key elections, budget time, restricted duty, real estate woes, airport arrest, news quiz, and an August Wilson archive is open in Pittsburgh.

Two Pennsylvania appellate judges have offered conflicting rulings on whether evidence of fraud is needed to request a recount.

Such recount petitions have become an increasingly common tool for those seeking to question election results, leading to delays in certification and fresh doubts about the integrity of the elections.

In the past month, one Commonwealth Court judge ruled that petitioners must either provide evidence of election malfeasance or file recount requests in every precinct where an election occurred, while another judge ruled in a separate case that recount petitioners do not need evidence.

Read Spotlight PA and Votebeat's full report: Pa. judges offer conflicting opinions on whether fraud evidence is needed for recount requests

THE CONTEXT: The confusion stems from two seemingly contradictory sections of state law.

One portion of the Election Code dating back to 1927 says petitioners only need to state it is their “belief” that fraud or error occurred, and do not need to present evidence.

A separate provision, this one added in 2004, states that if petitioners are going to use the 1927 provision, they have to present at least some evidence or file the petitions in every precinct where the election took place.

Election officials and petitioners hope that the state Supreme Court will take up the issue to provide clarity.


"We have way too many customers."

—The general manager of BB’s Grocery Outlet in Lancaster County on the crush of out-of-town patrons the discount store is currently facing
Support Spotlight PA's vital journalism and for a limited time, all new monthly gifts will be matched 12X!

A passing Septa train in Swarthmore, via Marc W. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.

Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.KEY ELECTIONS: This year, Pennsylvanians will vote for county commissioners who, in most of the state, sit on local boards of election that certify results and make other key decisions. The Inquirer (paywall) explains these once low-profile races have taken on new importance ahead of the 2024 presidential contest.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.BUDGET TIME: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's first budget address is Tuesday, and PennLive reports he's set to propose increased investments in community and economic development and child care services. The Inquirer reported last week that he'll also urge greater spending on mental health services in schools, while TribLIVE reports funding increases for business innovation programs are also in the mix.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.RESTRICTED DUTY: A Pennsylvania State Police trooper made nearly $150,000 while on restricted duty after he crashed a state-issued SUV while drunk. According to the Observer-Reporter, trooper Jeffrey Alan Tihey was recently sentenced to a year of probation and he remains on restricted duty, which the outlet described as "essentially administrative desk duty."

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.STAY OR GO: The derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine has rattled the real estate market as nearby residents and people considering a move to the area consider their next steps. "They're afraid of showering with the water. They're afraid to cook with the water," a realtor told WESA.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.AIRPORT ARREST: Federal officials say a Pennsylvania man packed explosive materials, fuses, and a lighter in a suitcase he checked at a Lehigh Valley airport. The AP reports 40-year-old Marc Muffley has been charged with possessing an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.
🏆 TEST YOURSELF: Another big week of Pennsylvania news is in the bag. Test your grip on the latest headlines from Harrisburg and around the state with this week's installment of The Great PA News Quiz.

AUGUST ARCHIVE: The University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library is now home to 450 bankers boxes of materials left behind by the acclaimed playwright August Wilson, who grew up in the city's Hill District.

FAMOUS FIRST: Across the state at the University of Pennsylvania, a new exhibition celebrates Minerva Parker Nichols, the first woman in the country to run a solo architecture practice.

VIRAL SUPPORT: Amy’s Pizzeria in Hatboro has been flooded with orders and support after a video of a woman spewing racist remarks at one of the owners went viral. 

LIGHT SHOW: Sujay Singh shared this time-lapse video of the northern lights over Sullivan County on Facebook.

SWEET AND NO: Philadelphia magazine isn't afraid to ask hard questions like, "Does the world really need Peeps Pepsi?

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 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Persnickety

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Vicki U., Don H., Susan D., Jon W., Marty M., Barbara F., Kimberly D., Lynne E., Bill S., Eric F., Dennis M., Susan N.-Z., Adrien M., Daniel M., Starr B., Dianne K., David W., Myles M., Richard A., Joel S., Ada M., and William Z.
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