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Lapses found in county's voting machine testing

Plus, John Fetterman's Republican donors.

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Monday, April 22, 2024
Today: Missing records, SCOTUS case, ballot suit, Ukraine votes, different donors, and a big Post-Gazette strike update. Passover starts tonight.
An investigation by Spotlight PA and Votebeat found Northampton County had incomplete and inconsistent testing documentation for the voting machines involved in last year's Election Day snafu there.
The lapses do not point to any malfunction or malfeasance, and the Spotlight PA and Votebeat review did not find any. But the episode raises questions about how faithfully counties around the state are following requirements for testing their machines and documenting what they’re doing.
A programming error caused votes on two Pennsylvania Superior Court retention questions to be improperly printed on Northampton County voters’ paper ballots last November. Officials said the correct selections were recorded on the machines. Pre-election testing should have caught the issue, but the testing was incomplete, a county spokesperson said.

Read the full report: Missing voting machine documents raise concern about Pa. county’s testing processes.
Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.

“We are not against growth or jobs but this chemical recycling plant would have cost recreation jobs, polluted our river and air, and changed the character of our area forever, inviting more projects like it to come to the Susquehanna Valley.”
Sandy Field, a member of Save Our Susquehanna (SOS), reacting to Encina's decision to no longer pursue a contested plastics recycling plant in Northumberland County on the banks of the Susquehanna River
The 1714 Barns-Brinton House in Chester County, via Don N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a two-story rectangular brick house
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
CLOSE EYE: A U.S. Supreme Court case set for oral arguments today could affect how Pennsylvania communities use law enforcement to address issues around homelessness, WHYY reports. That includes places like Pottstown, which was sued over plans to remove a homeless encampment, and Philadelphia. The case could make encampment clearings easier, even when no other shelter exists. 
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
BALLOT LAWSUIT: Chester County Republicans have filed a lawsuit that aims to prevent the county's election board from tallying ballots if they were returned by a single agent for multiple residents in a long-term care facility — "potentially invalidating those ballots before the state’s primary election," The Inquirer (paywall) reports. A hearing in the case is set for this morning, on the eve of tomorrow's primary.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
LUKEWARM STANCE: U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R., Pa.) was the only Republican to vote "present" on a Ukraine aid bill that passed the U.S. House over the weekend, NOTUS reports. Meuser, whose district has one of the highest concentrations of people of Ukrainian descent in the country, and who is of Ukrainian descent himself, said the world should be doing more. U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) voted "no" on the bill.
  • These 37 House Democrats and 21 Republicans voted against Israel aid over the weekend, via Business Insider.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
SHIFTING SIDES: U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) has received a growing number of GOP donors as he continues his unwavering support of Israel. The Intercept found at least 14 registered Republicans have donated to Fetterman’s campaign since the Oct. 7 attacks, signifying a shift in public perception. Several Fetterman donors have also contributed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
DIFFERENT STORY: GOP U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick has talked about growing up on his family's farm in rural Bloomsburg, but The New York Times (paywall) found holes in his "started with nothing" narrative. The paper says McCormick's father was president of what is now Bloomsburg University and McCormick largely grew up in what students called the president’s mansion. McCormick responded.
🗞️ THINK YOU'RE PRETTY SMART? Prove it with the latest PA News Quiz: 2024 primary questions, January 6 charges, and Biden tariffs.
LABOR LAW: The National Labor Relations Board will seek a temporary injunction against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for allegedly violating its workers’ rights, TribLIVE reports. Union representatives said the move could put an end to the 19-month strike there.
MINI-QUAKE: A few people reported feeling the 2.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Berks County on Friday. The quake was weaker than the 4.8 one that hit the East Coast earlier this month. 
WALK BACK: The Cumberland Valley school board will hold a special meeting Wednesday to reconsider its widely criticized cancellation of a 30 Rock actor’s middle school visit, PennLive (paywall) reports. 
TAYLOR TIES: A Bucks County band announced it's releasing its first album in 17 years after being name-dropped on Taylor Swift’s new double-album on the song "The Black Dog," the Inquirer (paywall) reports.
TREAT TRIP: You can get paid $5,000 for doing an ice cream road trip highlighting creameries around Pennsylvania. The American Dairy Association is hiring its first-ever Chief Ice Cream Officer
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