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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

November 5, 2021
Proxy vote, special elections, mixed results, top doc, 'specifically targeted,' harm legacy, and Daylight Saving Time rides again. It's Friday. This is PA Post.
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BALLOT BLUNDER

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday revealed that his wife, First Lady Frances Wolf, dropped his mail ballot off for him, a violation of Pennsylvania election law, Spotlight PA reports. 

"I didn't show up in person at the polls. We voted a couple weeks ago, actually," Wolf told KDKA Radio host Kevin Battle on Tuesday. "My wife actually dropped it off personally two weeks ago, so it's there."

A spokesperson for Wolf called the second-hand delivery "an honest mistake."

Wolf's violation came to light after state Rep. Seth Grove (R., York), whose wide-ranging election reform package was vetoed by the governor in June, pointed out the radio interview on Twitter, adding: "This is illegal under the election code, BUT would have been legal had [Wolf] signed HB 1300."


THE CONTEXT: Grove, who leads the state House committee that considers election issues, earlier this year introduced a major election overhaul bill that would have implemented stricter voter identification requirements, allowed in-person early voting, and required signature verification of mail ballots. Wolf vetoed the bill, in part, because of the heightened ID rules.

Current Pennsylvania law does allow voters with disabilities who aren't able to return their own ballot to designate someone else to do it for them. A voter can also designate a representative to return an emergency absentee ballot.

But in all other cases, voters have to mail or bring their ballot to an elections office, satellite location, or drop box themselves. Violations are punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

NOTABLE / QUOTABLE 

"Suit up Patriots... We are just getting started! Who's ready for phase 2?"

—Republican candidate for Northampton County executive Steve Lynch in an accusatory Facebook post following his loss to the Democratic incumbent 
BE PART OF HISTORY
Dear reader,

We've been issued an urgent challenge: If we raise $70,000 by December 31st, we'll unlock $70,000 in matching gifts from a generous local donor and foundations committed to building a new path for news in Pennsylvania.

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With gratitude,
Christopher Baxter, Editor in Chief
💉 COVID-19 NEWS
» NEW DEADLINE: Private companies with more than 100 employees will need to require workers to get fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face weekly tests under a new Biden administration rule that carries the possibility of workplace inspections and stiff financial penalties, U.S. News reports.

» COVID PILL: Britain is the first country in the world to approve Merck's COVID-19 antiviral pill for treatment of people with mild to moderate illness and at least risk factor for developing severe illness, per Reuters.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine, use the federal government's online tool, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
📅 UPCOMING EVENTS
» CANNABIS CONUNDRUM: Join us Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. EST via Zoom for a free Q&A on cannabis as a treatment for opioid use disorder, the debate in the medical community, and a look at what the research says. Register here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
📷 POST IT
Some colorful pumpkins found at the farmers market in Ephrata. Check out those cool names. Thanks, Sener H. Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
DAILY RUNDOWN
HOUSE SPECIAL: Sources tell KDKA-TV that Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Ed Gainey plans to name state Rep. Jake Wheatley (D., Allegheny) as deputy mayor. Capital-Star reports this would add to a list of looming special elections — including one for Gainey's own legislative seat.

FAILED FLIPS: A well-funded, culture war-anchored effort to sway local school board races across Pennsylvania saw mixed results in some corners on Tuesday, per Keystone Crossroads. In Radnor, for example, relatively large sums of money failed to wrest control of a single seat.

HEALTH OFFICIAL: Philadelphia has named a new health commissioner to succeed Thomas Farley, who resigned over his role in ordering the cremation of MOVE bombing victims' remains, per The Inquirer. Cheryl Bettigole's interim appointment has now been made permanent.

TARGET ACQUIRED: A drone found crashed at a Pennsylvania substation was the first known to have "specifically targeted energy infrastructure" in a likely attempt to disrupt the power grid, a law enforcement bulletin says. News reports did not list the exact location.

LASTING HARM: PennLive tells the story of Shawn Sinisi, a victim of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky whose life unraveled after the sexual abuse, culminating in jail stints, homelessness, and, ultimately, a fatal overdose in a Pittsburgh-area McDonald's.
IN OTHER NEWS

CROSS-FILED: If you found yourself confused on Tuesday by candidates listed on ballots as both Democrat and Republican, a state lawmaker is proposing a change meant to clearly indicate which party candidates are actually registered with, per PublicSource reporter Charlie Wolfson.

SAVINGS AND LOAN: This weekend is Daylight Saving Time, meaning it's also time for a regular reminder that you can blame a Pittsburgh councilman for the inconvenience while waiting for lawmakers to put a stop to all this

SHORE UP: The running Reddit debate about whether Pennsylvania is a "coastal state" is nearly as old as the social media platform. Here's what the state's Department of Environmental Protection says.

GOOD READ: When a down-on-his-luck doctor named Gerald Laughlin moved into a haunted New Castle mansion, he saw it as an opportunity to turn his fortunes. Truly*Adventurous writes everything went wrong from there.

BEST, WORST: Adam Granduciel of Philly's own War on Drugs — a band once described as Bob Dylan meets the Heartbreakers meets Springsteen meets Pink Floyd — tells Vulture about the best and worst of his career.

THE SCRAMBLER
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.
 
I I N R R A L E

*This week's theme: Transportation
 
Yesterday's answer: Tramway

Congrats to our daily winners: Irene R., Scott R., Michelle T., Tom L., Ann E., Susan N., Bruce T., Jodi R., Don H., Neal W., Mike B., Becky C., Wendy A., Beth T., Barbara F., Susan D., Judith D., Joel B., Heidi B., Kim C., Stephanie J., Dave N., Elaine C., Chris M., David S., Janice H., John A., Lynne E., Gina L., Kimberly S., Craig W., Dan W., Doris T., Janet C., Ken J., Steve D., Al M., Christine M., Jill M., Bonnie A., Karen W., Fred O., Vicki U., Bruce B., Susan R., Diane P., Suzanne S., Bruce B., Dianne K., James N., Bridget C., Daniel M., Bill S., Johnny C., Susan K., Jessica K., Lex M., Lewis M., Eddy Z., Anne G., Mark C., Debbie S., Kevin M., Tim B., Patricia R., Susan F., Doris B., Alan V., Karen A., John H., Ronnee G., David W., Russellen C., Christine F., George S., James B., Myles M., and John F.
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