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To bring ‘joy to the polls,’ national group launching roving concert program in Philly on Saturday

To bring ‘joy to the polls,’ national group launching roving concert program in Philly on Saturday

Planning to cast your mail-in ballot this weekend and anticipating a line? It might not be so bad. As part of a mission to support voters waiting in line, the Election Defenders — a group of volunteers organized by a coalition of progressive organizations — is launching a nationwide “Joy to the Polls” effort in Philadelphia on Saturday. The group is partnering with local artists and traveling aroundin the city to provide musical entertainment to voters. This weekend, the effort will bring the live music to , which opened over the last several weeks and allow voters to request and cast a...

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Anna Orso
2d ago
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How to make sure your vote still counts if you think you submitted a ‘naked ballot’ in Pennsylvania

How to make sure your vote still counts if you think you submitted a ‘naked ballot’ in Pennsylvania

Worried that you submitted a “naked ballot” in Pennsylvania? You can still make sure your vote is counted. Voters who turned in mail ballots that they fear could be rejected because they made a mistake — such as not using the inner secrecy envelope — can go to the polls on Election Day and use a provisional ballot that would ultimately be counted, the Pennsylvania Department of State said this week. Related stories “If the voter believes that he/she has not returned or cast the ballot successfully or otherwise contests his/her ballot status, the poll worker shall provide the voter a...

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Jonathan Lai
1d ago
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The Parkway homeless encampment is shrinking — but not gone — as tents are carted away and occupants vacate

The Parkway homeless encampment is shrinking — but not gone — as tents are carted away and occupants vacate

Shrinking dramatically within the last few days, the on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has substantially fewer tents and perhaps no more than 25 occupants, down from an estimated peak of 150 during the summer. One of its organizers predicted the site at North 22nd Street could be vacated as soon as Monday — a relatively quick denouement after an agonizingly slow four-month process of negotiations between organizers and the city that touched on such volatile issues as housing, economic inequities, racism, and the pandemic. Related stories Encampment organizers had resolved that the...

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Alfred Lubrano
1d ago
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The Union League foundation just wanted to advertise an exhibit on voting. Then it was accused of suppression.

The Union League foundation just wanted to advertise an exhibit on voting. Then it was accused of suppression.

The bright-red signs took up the entire side of the two trash cans and read in large lettering: “BALLOT BOX.” It was an advertisement unveiled Friday for the Union League Legacy Foundation’s exhibit on the history of voting rights — and a quickly realized mistake. The signs were up for only a couple hours, said Kira Foley-Tuzman, the foundation’s chief administrative officer, before the group realized that the signage could mislead voters into thinking a trash can was an official ballot box. It was an unfortunate messaging blunder, with terrible timing. People on social media had derided...

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Ellie Silverman
2d ago
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School board gets details on Philly reopening, earful from public

School board gets details on Philly reopening, earful from public

With the Philadelphia School District gearing up for a late November return to in-person learning for some students, the school board heard details Thursday about building readiness — and got an earful about the proposed reopening plan. Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said that school buildings were on track to be able to accommodate up to 32,000 prekindergarten through second-grade students two days a week beginning Nov. 30. But less than half of district schools have had ventilation capacity checked to date, and of those, 25 buildings currently have ventilation systems that would...

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Kristen A. Graham
3d ago
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Counties cannot reject mail ballots because of mismatched signatures, Pa. Supreme Court rules

Counties cannot reject mail ballots because of mismatched signatures, Pa. Supreme Court rules

is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. . HARRISBURG — Counties cannot reject mail-in and absentee ballots if a voter’s signature on the outer envelope does not match what’s on file, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Friday, making drawn-out challenges on Election Day less likely. In a 7-0 decision, the high court said there are no provisions in the state’s election code that specifically require counties to match voters' signatures. And, the...

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Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA
2d ago
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Philly man, exonerated at 73, faced ‘stunning violation of constitutional rights,’ lawyers say

Philly man, exonerated at 73, faced ‘stunning violation of constitutional rights,’ lawyers say

As police investigated the 1985 double murder of Luis and Hector Camacho in broad daylight in North Philadelphia, all evidence seemed to point to a prime suspect: Witnesses heard an argument over a drug deal, saw shots fired, even saw the killer dragging the body of one of the victims. But that suspect was never prosecuted. And years later, in 1989, the case took a sharp turn — and a different man, Antonio Martinez, was charged and convicted. Now, after 30 years in prison, Martinez, 73, was ordered released from State Correctional Institution Mahanoy after the Philadelphia District...

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Samantha Melamed
2d ago
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Top Pa. prosecutor to Trump campaign: Don’t videotape voters dropping off their mail ballots

Top Pa. prosecutor to Trump campaign: Don’t videotape voters dropping off their mail ballots

President Donald Trump’s campaign spent some time last week surveilling and videotaping voters dropping off mail ballots at Philadelphia City Hall, prompting some swift pushback from Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in a statement, warned Trump that his campaign’s actions are not covered by the state’s Election Code provisions for poll watching. “Our entire system of voting is built on your ballot being private and your choice to vote being a personal one,” Shapiro said in a statement to The Inquirer. “Depending on the circumstance, the act of...

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Chris Brennan
3d ago
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Penn has paid Joe Biden more than $900K since he left the White House. What did he do to earn the money?

Penn has paid Joe Biden more than $900K since he left the White House. What did he do to earn the money?

WASHINGTON — What did the University of Pennsylvania get for the more than $900,000 it has paid Joe Biden? The former vice president collected $371,159 in 2017 plus $540,484 in 2018 and early 2019 for a vaguely defined role that involved no regular classes and around a dozen public appearances on campus, mostly in big, ticketed events. Related stories Penn’s payments to Biden raised eyebrows and questions among some in the community when they were revealed this week as part of the financial disclosures for his presidential campaign. The average salary for a Penn professor was $217,411 in...

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Jonathan Tamari
Jul 12
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How to make sure your vote still counts if you think you submitted a ‘naked ballot’ in Pennsylvania

How to make sure your vote still counts if you think you submitted a ‘naked ballot’ in Pennsylvania

Worried you submitted a “naked ballot” in Pennsylvania? You can still make sure your vote is counted. Voters who turned in mail ballots that they fear could be rejected because they made a mistake — such as not using the inner secrecy envelope — can go to the polls on Election Day and use a provisional ballot that would ultimately be counted, the Pennsylvania Department of State said this week. “If the voter believes that he/she has not returned or cast the ballot successfully or otherwise contests his/her ballot status, the poll worker shall provide the voter a provisional ballot,” the...

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Jonathan Lai
2d ago
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Philly teachers avert strike with tentative deal for one-year contract

Philly teachers avert strike with tentative deal for one-year contract

Philadelphia teachers have a tentative one-year contract. Jerry Jordan, president of the 13,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told members in a Wednesday night meeting that the union had come to terms with the Philadelphia School District. » READ MORE: Members will receive a 2% across-the-board wage increase retroactive to Aug. 16, and pay increases for years of experience and education, effective Jan. 4. “This was a significant win for us,” Jordan told reporters during a briefing Wednesday night. The news came at the eleventh hour, averting what could have been the first...

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Kristen A. Graham
4d ago
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‘Character matters,’ Obama tells a drive-in rally for Biden at South Philly’s stadium complex

‘Character matters,’ Obama tells a drive-in rally for Biden at South Philly’s stadium complex

Former President Barack Obama delivered a punishing rebuke of his successor Donald Trump’s tenure and a clarion call to supporters for his old running mate Joe Biden at a drive-in rally outside Citizens Bank Park as the sun set Wednesday night. Trump’s tone and the misinformation he spreads have poisoned American political discourse, Obama said on his first day stumping for Biden on the 2020 campaign trail. Related stories “It affects how our children see things, and it affects the way our families get along," Obama said as supporters cheered and hundreds of drivers slammed their horns in...

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Sean Collins Walsh
4d ago
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6,000 Philly kids could be excluded from school if they don’t get vaccinations; school sites opening for shots

6,000 Philly kids could be excluded from school if they don’t get vaccinations; school sites opening for shots

Nearly 6,000 Philadelphia School District students will be excluded from classes if they don’t receive state-mandated vaccinations by Nov. 2, but school sites are opening soon to provide shots. Pennsylvania law requires students to be immunized to participate in school. “While COVID-19 has changed many things in our lives, and we have been in a digital learning environment for several months, school aged immunization requirements have not gone away,” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the district was partnering with CVS to provide shot clinics...

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Kristen A. Graham
4d ago
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Ex-Temple frat president sentenced to state prison for attempted sexual assault

Ex-Temple frat president sentenced to state prison for attempted sexual assault

The former head of a Temple University fraternity was sentenced Wednesday to 3½ to 7 years in state prison for trying to force himself on a fellow student in his bedroom. Ari Goldstein, 23, was convicted of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, attempted sexual assault, and indecent assault during a five-day trial in February. The Wrightstown, Bucks County, native was set to be sentenced in May, but the hearing was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In handing down her sentence, Common Pleas Court Judge Tamika Lane said she took note of Goldstein’s lack of remorse as the...

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Vinny Vella
4d ago
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Philadelphia teachers facing first strike vote in decades after contract talks with district fall short

Philadelphia teachers facing first strike vote in decades after contract talks with district fall short

Philadelphia teachers could consider their first strike vote in decades as talks with the Philadelphia School District on a one-year contract extension drag on with no end in sight, officials said. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan gave members the news in a meeting Monday night. “The district has decided that they are unwilling, at this time, to resolve our one year contract extension,” Jordan wrote in an email to 13,000 teachers, nurses, counselors, secretaries, and other school workers. “And as I shared with you, it is necessary for me to ask you to consider...

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Kristen A. Graham
6d ago
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If you have a mail ballot, just use it, Pennsylvania officials urge

If you have a mail ballot, just use it, Pennsylvania officials urge

With around and , some Pennsylvania voters who already have ballots may be tempted to change course and vote in person at the polls. But officials in both parties this week cautioned against that, saying voters should simply return their mail ballots as soon as they can. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, and Al Schmidt, a Republican and one of three city commissioners who run Philadelphia elections, stressed that mail voting should be trusted. And if voters who have already have requested mail ballots instead show up to vote on Election Day, that could put unnecessary strain on the...

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Oona Goodin-Smith
5d ago
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People are volunteering to be poll workers in record numbers in Philly and the suburbs

People are volunteering to be poll workers in record numbers in Philly and the suburbs

Samantha Connell laughed in disbelief at the automated text message that flashed across her phone earlier this month: “Philadelphia County is hiring folks to check-in voters and make sure the elections run smoothly here on Nov. 3rd. Are you interested?” For weeks, Connell, 32, had repeatedly called her local elections office to confirm whether she had been selected as a poll worker. But she kept getting busy tone after busy tone — at least 25 times over several weeks — until she got through, and got the job. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” she joked about the text message that came not long...

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Jonathan Lai
6d ago
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In-person teaching puts my family at risk, but the Philly school district leaves me few options | Opinion

In-person teaching puts my family at risk, but the Philly school district leaves me few options | Opinion

Opinion Last Tuesday, the School District of Philadelphia released a to reopen schools starting on Nov. 30. As a second grade teacher in the District, the news shook my family to the core and left me with an impossible dilemma: leave the profession that I moved 1,000 miles for, or put my fiancé at risk of catching a virus that could kill him. I moved from Florida to Philadelphia a year ago for one reason: I wanted to advocate for students whose access to quality education and resources are unjustly determined by their 5-digit zip code. Joining me on my journey was my fiancé, Reuben. Life...

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Hannah Patrick
6d ago
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U.S. Supreme Court allows 3-day extension to count Pennsylvania mail-in ballots

U.S. Supreme Court allows 3-day extension to count Pennsylvania mail-in ballots

This article is made possible through , a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of . HARRISBURG — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed Pennsylvania’s 3-day extension for accepting mail-in ballots, with justices denying a request by state Republicans to intervene on the grounds that the state’s highest court had overstepped its authority. Under state law, counties can accept mail-in ballots that arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day. But in September, anticipating unprecedented voting by mail...

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Marie Albiges for Spotlight PA
6d ago
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White women are ditching Trump, and it could cost him Pennsylvania

White women are ditching Trump, and it could cost him Pennsylvania

Women have been getting involved with local Democratic Party politics even in more rural areas, injecting energy into places where the party didn’t have much visibility.Elaine Caruso voted for Donald Trump in 2016. He seemed to be the candidate who would better protect the country from foreign threats, which Caruso, who lived across the Hudson River from Manhattan on 9/11, feared.“I thought, we need somebody who has a set — we need a tough guy,” said Caruso, 58, who now lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think that thug would turn on us.”Trump won half of the...

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Julia Terruso
6d ago
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COVID-19 cases are rising fast in Pa. and NJ., but hospitals are not burdened — yet. Here’s why.

COVID-19 cases are rising fast in Pa. and NJ., but hospitals are not burdened — yet. Here’s why.

The second wave of the pandemic seems to have begun in N.J. and Pa. But for hospitals, this fall is nothing like the spring.COVID-19 cases have been climbing for weeks in New Jersey and , which now has daily increases on a par with the peak of the first wave in April.Yet this worrisome trend has not translated into a surge in hospital admissions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as it did in the spring.The same paradoxical situation has occurred in other parts of the United States and The coronavirus has produced conflicting data on how quickly a jump in cases impacts hospitals, and how...

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Marie McCullough
6d ago
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Judge strikes down Trump plan to slash food stamps for 700,000 unemployed Americans

Judge strikes down Trump plan to slash food stamps for 700,000 unemployed Americans

The new rule would have tightened the criteria for states applying for such waivers, making 6% the minimum unemployment rate for a county to receive a waiver.WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Sunday formally struck down a Trump administration attempt to end food stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people, blocking as “arbitrary and capricious” the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.In a 67-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of the District of Columbia condemned the Agriculture Department for not justifying or even addressing...

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Spencer S. Hsu
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7d ago
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White women in Pennsylvania are ditching Trump: 'He’s a really good con'

White women in Pennsylvania are ditching Trump: 'He’s a really good con'

Elaine Caruso voted for Donald Trump in 2016. He seemed to be the candidate who would better protect the country from foreign threats, which Caruso, who lived across the Hudson River from Manhattan on 9/11, feared. “I thought, we need somebody who has a set — we need a tough guy,” said Caruso, 58, who now lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think that thug would turn on us.” Related stories Trump won half of the votes cast by white women in Pennsylvania in 2016, according to exit polls, helping him narrowly win the state. But with Election Day just two weeks...

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Julia Terruso
6d ago
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Even seniors are abandoning Trump in Pa. Downplaying the pandemic was the last straw.

Even seniors are abandoning Trump in Pa. Downplaying the pandemic was the last straw.

James Hill hardly leaves his home in Philadelphia anymore, so that’s where the 71-year-old Republican was sitting when he watched President Donald Trump return to the White House and tell Americans not to fear the virus. Hill knows better. Related stories Every few days, he’s back at the kitchen table in Chestnut Hill to write another condolence note memorializing a friend of a loved one he’s lost to this deadly disease, 10 so far. “Telling us not to be afraid of the coronavirus when so many people in the White House are coming down with it is ridiculous,” said Hill, an Army veteran and...

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Jessica Calefati
Oct 18
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Are flocks of New Yorkers moving to Philadelphia (and what does it mean if they are)?

Are flocks of New Yorkers moving to Philadelphia (and what does it mean if they are)?

Apparently, many New Yorkers wake up one day and recognize that they live in extortionately priced shoe boxes amid an aggressive populace without backyards or inner peace. So, they come here. Related stories U.S. census numbers show that the flow of New Yorkers moving to our city is slightly greater than the drain of Philadelphians heading to the Big Apple. The migration was sensed by an Inquirer reader who contacted Curious Philly, our Q&A forum that allows readers to send us queries about topics piquing their interest, and asked the following: Is there an influx of New Yorkers moving to...

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Alfred Lubrano
Jun 11
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