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How Philly is preparing for election chaos | Morning Newsletter

And, the Birds' comeback attempt fell short in Pittsburgh.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning, everyone. On Friday, you were introduced to my colleague Ashley Hoffman. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from her starting tomorrow. It’s been a joy to be able to write for you all (almost) every day since last summer (and you’ll still hear from me about once a week). If you ever have any questions about or suggestions for any of The Inquirer’s newsletters, please don’t hesitate to email me at

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Last month, Philadelphia officials gathered to game out a range of Election Day scenarios. One scenario, in particular, concerned them most, my colleague Chris Brennan reports.

What if in-person voting suggests that President Donald Trump is winning Pennsylvania after the polls close, but the slower mail-ballot counting in Philly flips the tally to Biden days later? Then, what might Trump’s response be?

It’s a recipe for chaos,” Brennan writes. Trump has for months falsely claimed that mail ballots are vulnerable to widespread fraud, leading far fewer Republicans to request mail ballots than Democrats.

During the pandemic, some wealthier school districts have been able to provide technology to children who need it, helping them put remote learning plans to work. Meanwhile, in low-income districts, households couldn’t easily move online when schools suddenly closed.

What that means, according to reporting from my colleagues Melanie Burney and Kristen A. Graham, is that the digital divide and inequities will widen the achievement gap between students in those more well-off districts and their less-affluent counterparts.

What you need to know today

  1. Former Philadelphia police officer Eric Ruch Jr. was charged Friday with murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Dennis Plowden Jr. in East Germantown in December 2017.

  2. Joe Biden was in Pennsylvania this weekend to try to persuade swing voters as President Trump campaigned from the White House.

  3. Schools have been open for about a month, but it’s unclear how many students or school staffers have contracted COVID-19.

  4. Nancy Nguyen, the cofounder and executive director of a Vietnamese activist group in Philadelphia, was arrested last week on charges related to a protest that took place weeks ago outside the Virginia home of the head of ICE.

  5. The Gulf has been hammered by storms during this record hurricane season. So far, the East Coast has been spared.

  6. Right now, young adults are fueling COVID-19 cases. But a federal study indicates that those infections could soon drive a surge among more vulnerable and older adults.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Hopefully, the rain yesterday and today will make way for more of this greenery. Thanks for sharing, @theresa__cannon.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🦅 The Eagles' comeback attempt against the Steelers fell short yesterday. But an unheralded receiver is emerging as one of Carson Wentz’s favorite targets.

  2. 🏟️ The Union allowed a total of 2,775 people in the stadium last night, including players, coaches, team staffs, stadium workers, and, yes, fans. The team’s supporters returned to Chester last night to watch the Union see out a 2-1 win.

  3. 🌿 A new poll shows that marijuana legalization looks likely to be coming to New Jersey.

  4. 📚 Harriett’s Bookshop closed in March because of pandemic restrictions. But the Fishtown shop will reopen today at 4 p.m. with a sit-in in response to the racist and threatening emails sent to several Black-owned businesses in Philly.

  5. 🏀 Langston Wilson is one of college basketball’s most-sought-after junior college recruits. But the Bonner-Prendergast alum never played in high school with a suspected heart condition that almost kept him away from the game for good. My colleague Aaron Carter has the story.

  6. 🎙️ When Philly-based Shamir opened for the Killers in Vegas in 2016, the artist told my colleague Dan DeLuca that “this isn’t my dream, but a lot of people want this. People die for this. So let’s give it a try.” The 25-year-old has now self-released a seventh album, the genre-fluid Shamir.


That this grieving mother was standing in front of a crowd and talking about her pain when her loss was so fresh should put an end to the narrative — used by public officials to justify their own ineffectiveness — that the community isn’t doing its part. — writes columnist Helen Ubiñas about the continued questions Philly’s victims of gun violence have despite politicians' meetings.

  1. Should America stop celebrating Columbus Day? Trinity Norwood, the director of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation’s Royalty Program and founding board member of Indigenous Peoples' Day Philly Inc., debates with Christopher Tremoglie, a Penn student and intern with the National Columbus Education Foundation, in this week’s Pro/Con.

  2. Columnist Maria Panaritis writes about COVID-19′s impact on the door-knocking that won Pennsylvania Democrats votes in 2018.

What we’re reading

  1. Reading Terminal Market has launched a GoFundMe page to help with the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on its business, CBS3 reports.

  2. This fall, Eastern State Penitentiary canceled Terror Behind the Walls and opted for self-guided Night Tours. Billy Penn reports that the institution may not go back to the annual pop-up haunted house both because the Night Tours have been lucrative and because those are closer to Eastern State’s mission.

  3. National Geographic tells of an Oregon town that was split straight down the middle by a wildfire.

Your Daily Dose of | Ya Fav Trashman

Terrill Haigler, also known as Ya Fav Trashman, has created an Instagram account to ask for hazard pay and PPE for sanitation workers during the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, he also hosted a food drive for all front-line workers in Philly even as he was facing a family medical emergency.