Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
With millions of people nationwide, including those in Pennsylvania, standing in line to vote in-person this election season, and millions more expected to vote by mail-in ballot, Gov. Tom Wolf went on MSNBC on Tuesday night to talk about election integrity issues.
In a conversation with host Joy Reid, the Democratic governor said he doesn’t think the Republican-controlled General Assembly is “in a position to steal the election” for President Donald Trump, because he “doesn’t think Pennsylvanians will stand for that.”
The line of questioning appeared to be a reference to a bombshell story in the Atlantic last month that raised the prospect of an Electoral College meltdown in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania Republicans have aggressively pushed back against the reporting.
Wolf also told Reid that he wasn’t sure what to make of apparent threats by President Donald Trump to withhold federal aid or other assistance, because he was forced to move the site of a rally in Allentown on Monday to comply with COVID-19 standards. Trump told the crowd, “I’ll remember it, Tom. I’m gonna remember it, Tom. ‘Hello, Mr. President, this is Governor Wolf, I need help, I need help.’ You know what? These people are bad,” CNN reported.
“I am absolutely beyond being clear on what he is capable of doing and not capable of doing. Nothing surprises me,” Wolf told Reid.
What is clear, however, is that Democrats are sufficiently concerned about issues of election security and voter security that some are taking steps now to make sure it’s not an issue in the next election.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District, announced legislation that would require counties to provide a minimum of one dropbox for every 15,000 voting age residents. The proposed “Dropbox Access Act,” would take the lessons learned during this election, and apply it to future ones.
“Drop boxes provide a safe and secure option to return mail-in ballots and efforts to undermine this process are just the latest example of voter suppression,” Scanlon said in a statement released by her office, adding that the bill will “prevent these tactics from occurring in the future, while expanding access to the ballot box, safely and securely, to every eligible voter.”
Obligatory caveat emptor: The bill is unlikely to become law this year. The current session of Congress will blink out of existence at year’s end. And even if the House does vote it, a vote in the majority-Republican Senate is a virtual impossibility. But as a bit of last-minute headline-grabbing, it’s not without some potent symbolism.
Scanlon is running against Republican Dasha Pruett, a Trump White House ally, who has promised to “make [Delaware County] great again.”
Pruett’s Facebook page includes information advising local voters on how to cast a provisional ballot in case they change their mind about casting a mail-in ballot.
Some 69 million Americans have already cast ballots ahead of next week’s general election, a historic tally that has left states scrambling to keep up, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. For now, early tallies have favored Democrats, but it’s known that Republicans favor in-person voting.
Long lines at polling stations have stoked fears of voter suppression. One of Scanlon’s co-sponsors, U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said the proposal is intended to address such concerns.
The bill also would require that drop boxes are:
- Accessible to individuals with disabilities
- Available beginning 45 days before the election and running through election day
- Placed in a non-discriminatory fashion and in locations which maximize accessibility
- Accessible by public transit
- Available on tribal lands
- Distributed based on density to accommodate rural, suburban, and urban parts of counties.
“Ensuring that all Americans – especially those who have been historically disenfranchised – can exercise their right to vote is critical for our future elections and democracy,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escboar, D-Texas, the bill’s other co-sponsor, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, in battleground Pennsylvania, Tuesday was the last day for state residents to request a mail-in ballot.
Speaking to journalists Tuesday, Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar urged those with ballots not to wait, and to cast them as soon as possible, preferably by hand-delivering them to their county election office.
“Do it today, do it tomorrow. Do not wait,” Boockvar said.
More than 3 million Pennsylvanians have applied to cast a mail-in ballot. And as the Capital-Star’s Elizabeth Hardison reported Tuesday, those ballots are due back to county election offices by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Voters can deliver their ballots to the election office themselves, or take them to a satellite voting station, or secure drop box if their county offers one.
You can use our map to find your county election office, a satellite voting office, or drop box in your home county.
Voters can still mail in their ballots, but they must be postmarked by Nov. 3.
Turning a corner? Not hardly. Pennsylvania charted its highest, one-day total of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Stephen Caruso reports.
Here’s Elizabeth Hardison’s full story about the Tuesday press conference that Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar held on mail-in ballots.
Cassie Miller wraps up her series of Q&As with this year’s candidates for state auditor general with a conversation with Democratic candidate Nina Ahmad.
Miller also has what you know about efforts to pass LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinances in two communities on opposite sides of the commonwealth.
And states are struggling to draft COVID-19 vaccine plans while they’re in the dark about funding and details from Washington, our Capitol Hill Correspondent Laura Olson reports.
In Philadelphia, officials are calling for answers in the death of a mentally ill man, armed with a knife, who was shot by police on Monday, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.
On our Commentary Page, Shira Goodman of the ADL-Philadelphia pays tribute on the second anniversary of the Tree of Life murders in Pittsburgh. Two experts from Community Legal Services in Philadelphia say it’s time to unlock higher education for people with criminal records. And an advocate from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association offers some tips on being an informed news consumer as we head into the home stretch of Campaign 2020.
Looting and skirmishes broke out in Philadelphia on Tuesday night amid protests over the police killing of a Black man in the city on Monday, the Inquirer reports.
The Tribune-Review has its list of stuff to watch for as Campaign 2020 heads into the home stretch.
Right on schedule, mail delays are worsening in Pennsylvania and other swing states, PennLive reports.
The Morning Call has what you need to know about the election logistics situation in the Lehigh Valley.
In-person early voting in Luzerne County ‘ended in controversy’ on Tuesday, the Citizens-Voice reports.
Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:
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In West Philadelphia, residents are grieving the death of Walter Wallace Jr. at the hands of city police — and they’re looking for justice, WHYY-FM reports.
StateImpact Pennsylvania contrasts Joe Biden’s and President Donald Trump’s positions on environmental issues — and what they mean for the Keystone State.
Erie County is seeing its highest number of COVID-19 cases since August, GoErie reports.
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, has made the National Journal’s final list of the Top 20 Most Vulnerable Incumbents, PoliticsPA reports.
In case he wants it, Beto O’Rourke has some final advice for the Biden campaign, Politico reports.
What Goes On:
Absolutely, nothing. Everyone’s off campaigning. Enjoy the silence.
Here’s a dreamy groove from singer/songwriter/bassist Blu DeTiger. It’s her new single ‘Cotton Candy Lemonade.’
Wednesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
La Liga titans Barcelona have agreed to join the new European super-league, a move with seismic implications. The Guardian has the story.
And now you’re up to date.