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Everything you need to know to vote today

Plus, why Pa.'s richest person poured $18M into this primary.

Some news of our own...

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— Colin D., PA Post editor

A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
May 17, 2022
Election planner, November reign, voting laws, idled bid, Capitol siege, ballot boxes, and 🌷 Spring kickoff. It's Tuesday and primary day!
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It's primary day in Pennsylvania! Here's what you need to know: 
  • Who can vote? Registered Democrats and Republicans. Independents and third-party voters can only vote on ballot questions where applicable. Philly, for example, has a few this time.
  • When can I vote? Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. As long as you're in line to vote by 8 p.m., you are allowed to vote.
  • Where's my polling place? Find it here.
  • Am I registered to vote? Double-check here.
  • Do I need a photo ID? You only need a photo ID or a non-photo ID like a utility bill if it's your first time voting at a polling place. 
  • What about mail ballots? At this point they need to be hand-delivered. Here are your options for doing so.
  • Can I check the status of my mail ballot once I submit it? Yes. You can check if your mail ballot has been received here.
Find plenty of additional tips in Spotlight PA's complete guide to the primary election and the candidates on the ballots.

And if you're planning to wait up for complete results tonight, just know that mail ballot rules could slow down the results — again

BIG MONEY: Pennsylvania's richest person, Jeffrey Yass, has spent at least $18 million on the 2022 primary — mostly to influence one issue: creating more alternatives to public schools statewide.

Allies argue he's a single-issue donor who backs candidates who support his pet causes. Critics say he's inserting his ideology into both major parties, whether the issue is privatizing public schools or cutting taxes.

Yass is a registered Libertarian, but that hasn't stopped him from pouring vast sums into campaigns from both parties through the years.

Spotlight PA reports this might be his biggest showing yet.

Help us raise $35,000 for independent local news in Pennsylvania. Our journalism depends on your support, and as an added bonus, all gifts will be DOUBLED by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Contribute now »

Thank you to the 23 people who contributed yesterday. What are you waiting for? Give now, get the match. 

"After everybody's already paid their money, after the patient has legally purchased their medicine, after the patient has legally consumed their medicine — the commonwealth turns around and says, 'That's not a medicine.' That sounds a bit like fraud to me."

Patrick Murphy, who legally used cannabis in Massachusetts and was charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania six days later, on the zero-tolerance approach that's also worrying medical marijuana patients here
» A last-minute guide to everything you need to know to vote today

» How to make sure your mail ballot is counted in the primary

» A guide to the overlooked race for Pa. lieutenant governor

» Your guide to the Democratic and GOP candidates for governor

» Candidates for governor raised $12.8 million in April alone

» More election coverage

Support Spotlight PA's public-service election and voting coverage now. As part of our Spring Member Drive, all gifts will be DOUBLED.

Go vote!! Then send us your gems. You can do so by email, by using #PAGems on Instagram, or by tagging us @spotlightpennsylvania.
FRINGE THEORY: The less mainstream candidates who've been rising in the primary polls — aided by infighting among more mainstream rivals — could struggle in a general election where catering to moderate voters might be necessary, per TribLIVE. Aware of this dynamic, GOP insiders are coalescing around Lou Barletta in the governor's race — a man famous for his own hardline stances but who's seen as offering a better shot at winning in a purple state like Pennsylvania.

ELECTION LAW: In addition to abortion rights and gun laws, the governor's race could reshape Pennsylvania's election landscape. WITF reports that every Republican candidate for governor has said they'd repeal Act 77 — the expanded mail-voting law that passed with bipartisan support, including from front-runner Doug Mastriano. WITF also found unanimous support for tougher voter ID rules

OFF THE TRAIL: Democratic U.S. Senate front-runner John Fetterman is off the campaign trail for now after suffering a stroke late last week. Fetterman says he's expected to make a full recovery and suffered no cognitive damage. The AP reports it's unclear how his campaign activity might be impacted going forward. Fetterman is polling well ahead of his nearest rival, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D., Pa.), whose struggle to gain traction in this primary got a look from The New York Times.

IN THE CROWD: Photos verified by NBC News show rising GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette marching alongside Proud Boys en route to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Barnette's campaign says she has no connection to the Proud Boys, was there to support Trump, and had no role in the violence that followed. WaPo reports Barnette is one of several leading GOP candidates for statewide office who were in D.C. on Jan. 6 and who are on Pennsylvania primary ballots today.

DROPPED BOX: There will be no drop box available to 344,000 registered voters in Lancaster County today. The county's Republican commissioners voted to remove it permanently on Monday, this time with public input, per FOX43. Ballots can still be dropped off at the elections office inside the Lancaster County Government Center, but voters will have to wait to go through metal detectors first. 

POLL QUIZ: Think you have what it takes to be a poll worker? Let's find out with Delaware County's official poll worker test. See what a poll worker learns about checking in voters, issuing ballots, and managing the polling place. The questions are tough, but it's an open-book test.

NAKED BALLOTS: Speaking of Delaware County ... Local officials took a moment on primary day eve to remind everyone not to vote naked, by which they mean submitting mail ballots that aren't properly packaged and therefore won't be counted. And just to clarify: You can't be nude at the polls.

MAIL DRAG: Redditor u/PocketSpaghettios makes a good point: As tired as you may be of the political mailers clogging up your mailbox, just imagine how your mail carrier feels. And if your deluge included a vaguely threatening postcard fronted by a cute cartoon, Spotlight PA has the story.

BOOK REPORT: The Office stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (aka Pam Beesly and Angela Martin) have a new book that the AP calls "an enjoyable complement" to the Scranton-set series with lots of insidery anecdotes. 

BULK SMASH: Reading police promised to crush a pile of seized dirt bikes and ATVs and it looks like they meant it. The act of deterrence theater has also been done in New York, drawing mixed reviews.

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.

This week's theme: Time
Yesterday's answer: Horology

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Craig W., Mike B., Suzanne O., Myles M., Bruce B., Susan N.-Z., Don H., Bonnie R., Judith D., Mark O., David S., John A., Beth T., Elaine C., Kim C., Starr B., Julia P., Ronnee G., Elizabeth W., George S., Kimberly S., Dianne K., Jessica K., Tish M., Theresa T., Diane P., Karen W., Jude M., David W., Fred H., Bill S., Kimberly D., James B., Susan D., Doris T., Vicki U., John H., and Irene R.
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