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Where Mastriano, Shapiro stand on democracy

Plus, articles of impeachment filed against DA Krasner.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 27, 2022
On the ballot, articles of impeachment, undated arguments, Medicaid restriction, Tree of Life, and wrongfully convicted. It's Thursday.

Election administration is on the ballot Nov. 8. 

Pennsylvania's next governor will have power over the way elections are run here — from the final say on election laws coming out of the legislature, to the appointment of the state's top election official, and more.

And the two major party candidates — Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano — differ wildly in their philosophies.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Where governor candidates Mastriano and Shapiro stand on mail ballots, election security, and voting rights

THE CONTEXT: The GOP nominee, state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, has called Biden's 2020 victory "statistically impossible" while championing former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election and spreading false claims of widespread voter fraud. 

Mastriano's planned election policies mirror those beliefs. 

Mastriano, whose prominence as an election denier helped fuel his GOP primary win in May, has hinted at his plan to appoint a fellow election denier as secretary of state, Pennsylvania's top elections officer.

Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, who currently serves as state attorney general, has centered his campaign on the argument that Mastriano is too fringe to be governor and cannot be trusted to run elections. 

In less typical fashion for a Democrat, Shapiro has also signaled an openness to tougher voter ID rules, something broadly opposed by his party.

In an April interview with the Capital-Star, Shapiro said he might support some form of expanded voter ID in concert with other measures that make it easier to vote, like same-day voter registration.


"Trump's message in the September 2022 meeting was that [Pennsylvania] state legislators have to act now, or else we will have no excuse mail-in balloting long into the future."

—Political strategist and Trump ally Michael Caputo on the former president's continued interest in overturning Pa.'s expanded mail-voting law
Read our complete coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance data, sample ballots & more at our Election Center 2022 website.

Spotlight on the Issues: Where Mastriano and Shapiro stand on:

»  College Funding & Student Debt
»  Energy & Environment
»  Crime & Justice
»  LGTBQ Rights
»  Abortion, Medicaid, & Opioids
»  Rural Health Care & Broadband
»  Taxes & Business Regulations
»  Election Security & Voting Rights

More issue analyses will be published in the coming weeks. 

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides:  

»  Your complete guide to voting in the Nov. 8 election
»  Everything you need to know about mail ballots
»  Your complete guide to the candidates for governor
»  How to vet the candidates on your midterm ballot
»  No constitutional amendments on the ballot, but big ones loom
»  How to serve as a poll worker on Nov. 8
»  These Pa. voters haven't missed a Nov. election in 50+ years
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election

En Español:

»  Una guía básica para investigar a los candidatos
»  Cómo trabajar como trabajador electoral el 8 de noviembre
»  Todo lo que necesita saber para votar por correo
»  Su guía completa de los candidatos a gobernador
»  Una guía completa para las elecciones del 8 de noviembre

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
» INQUIRER: Philly elections chief misled voters on ballot delay (paywall)
» PROPUBLICA: Shipping giant is fueling election denial in Pa.
» TMP: Fetterman and Oz battle over Pa.'s felony murder law
» WGAL: More than a million mail, absentee ballots requested in Pa.
» WHYY: GOP candidates in Pa. are dodging the press and debates
Chris M.'s coonhound Paige loves Halloween. Now it's your turn: Email PA Gem submissions (including Halloween, dog, and voting pics) to us here, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
PUSH TO OUST: GOP lawmakers in the state House have filed articles of impeachment against Larry Krasner, the progressive Philadelphia District Attorney, per City & State. The announcement came one day after a messy push to audit the DA's spending and two days after the issuance of a scathing report by legislators that stopped short of recommending he be removed from office.

FAST TRACK: With the unclear status of undated mail ballots looming over this election, the ACLU of Pennsylvania says some voters in Allegheny County have received mail ballots with no date field at all. The state's high court is set to weigh in quickly on the legality of undated ballots. The AP has a look at the legal arguments both for and against including them in the vote counts.

STATE-FUNDED: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case challenging the state's prohibition on low-income people using Medicaid to pay for abortions. Currently, only abortions in instances of rape, incest, or medical necessity are covered by Medicaid here. Plaintiffs argue that the limits are discriminatory and a violation of equal rights, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.

FOUR YEARS: Today marks four years since the massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue. These are the 11 lives lost that day. A moment of silence is typically held at 9:54 a.m. The trial of the accused gunman is set to begin in April after lengthy delays. On Monday, a federal judge denied a defense request to conduct a survey of potential jurors to determine their religious affiliation.

JUSTICE DENIED: Drew Whitley spent 18 years in a Pennsylvania prison before DNA evidence cleared him of the murder that put him there. As I reported for The Incline in 2019, Whitley struggled mightily after his release and called on Pennsylvania to join other states in giving compensation to the wrongfully convicted. Whitley did not live to see that happen. He died Oct. 17 at the age of 66.

ON HOLD: The state House's misconduct-related impeachment probe of Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage Jr. is on hold.

LEAVE IT: Good news: The experts say you don't need to bag those leaves on your yard this year. Consider mowing them instead.

GOING, GONE: It's auction time again for the state treasury's vault. On the block this time: $500 bills and South African krugerrands.

OLD GROWTH: PennLive reports a Perry County forest that has trees as old as the U.S. has joined the Old-Growth Forest Network.

ART OF WAR: Pittsburgh's graffiti artists have declared war on the spotted lanternfly. Will winter wipe out the bugs? Martha Stewart says no.

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: Assumption

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Craig W., Don H., Myles M., John A., Kimberly D., Becky C., Susan D., Susan N.-Z., Alissa H., Jody A., Wendy A., Kim C., George S., Elaine C., Kimberly B., John F., John P., Beth T., Cameron T., James B., David W., Dianne K., Bill S., Nancy S., Warren D., Stanley J., Sandy B., and Daniel M.
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