News & Brews November 8, 2022

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Fetterman, Dems sue over mail-in ballots

Election lawsuit-palooza is in swing. Yesterday, the national congressional and senate Democrat campaign groups, two Democrat voters, and John Fetterman’s U.S. Senate campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pittsburgh, arguing that mail-in ballots with no dates or incorrect dates should be counted. The suit comes after the state Supreme court last week said such ballots should not be counted (a ruling which itself came after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling that such ballots should be counted).

Pa. Dep’t of State’s ‘urgent’ survey raises alarm among counties

Why in the world would the Pennsylvania Department of State be asking counties for a partisan breakdown of voters who returned mail-in ballots with incorrect or missing dates? That’s what some counties want to know, alarmed by the request to provide party information for this data. Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman tried to justify the request, noting the state has “no systematic way of capturing that information so that’s why we sent the survey to all 67 counties. We know that we’ll be asked this question if there’s litigation so it’s our way to be proactive and ask these counties this information.” But in the general election, ballots aren’t either “Republican” or “Democrat,” and there’s no way to know if a voter voted according to party registration. All in all, the partisan nature of this request raises eyebrows, to say the least, and some counties are simply refusing to comply with the request.

Trump spends little to help endorsed candidates

Washington Post opinion columnist Marc Thiessen wrote last week that Sen. Mitch McConnell, through his Senate Leadership Fund and other connected groups, had spent $238 million to help Trump-backed candidates in seven Senate races. Meanwhile, Trump, although raising $161 million this election cycle, had spent less than $15 million on Senate races. “To put that in perspective,” Thiessen notes, “MAGA Inc.’s total spending across the country is less than McConnell-aligned PACs have spent in any individual race in which they are engaged.”

Philly votes to re-implement process for catching double votes

This morning in a special meeting, Philadelphia’s elections board voted to reinstate the process of poll book reconciliation, which “flags mail ballots submitted by voters who also voted in person.” The Inquirer reports this is a “sudden reversal of a decision they made less than a week ago” to postpone the process until after votes are counted and “come[s] a day after a city judge said they could move forward without the process” as it was too late to reinstate it (even though the judge said the process should not have been postponed in the first place). The process is an election security measure that catches double votes.

Your last-minute election guide

Spotlight PA has put together a resource on how to vote, where to vote, and more. The piece includes links to stories outlining where gubernatorial candidates Josh Shapiro and Doug Mastriano stand on key issues. (Given Spotlight is left-leaning, just be aware that the issues are framed from that perspective.)

DOL sends wrong letters to thousands of Pennsylvanians

Well, chalk this up to yet another miss from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. WESA reports that thousands of Pennsylvanians received “erroneous letters” from DOL “about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) overpayments, which the letters incorrectly say must be repaid by Dec. 1. The letters say the claimants’ right to appeal has expired, and threaten the recipient with seizure of state or federal income tax refunds, as well as additional financial penalties. The letters also direct the recipients to send checks to the Pennsylvania Workforce Commission – an agency that does not exist.” DOL is blaming a vendor.

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