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Voting by mail hasn’t eased the voting income gap | Morning Newsletter

And SEPTA gets a new look

    The Morning Newsletter

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

First: Wealthier people are dominating mail-in voting here.

Policy could change significantly if everybody voted, and a new Pennsylvania election law letting anyone vote by mail was designed to make the process better for everyone. But our review still found a higher turnout in the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.

Then: New signs and maps are coming to SEPTA to make traversing stations across town less confusing.

And the 2020 election brings one of the most high-stakes decisions anyone will ever be involved in. The presidential debate airs less than an hour after the Eagles-New York Giants game kicks off. Naturally, the conflict introduces a tough call for lifelong Eagles fans.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

It all comes down to economic status, our analysis found. With turnout among the city’s poor lagging behind the upper-income people, a glaring voting gap separating wealthier communities from those in low-income neighborhoods is still exposed. Voters with lower incomes encounter language barriers, unstable housing obstacles, and no internet access, all barriers the new law could have addressed.

For anyone who isn’t a seasoned SEPTA rider, the system can be a dizzying maze of transfer points, platform layouts, entrances and exits. SEPTA’s new overhaul aims to fix some of that. The rollout will feature clearer signs and maps to guide everyone, including tourists, newcomers, people with disabilities, and non-native English speakers.

Renaming a line may not be without controversy. And with ridership down 65% since the pandemic hit, alternative transportation could stick around. None of that is lost on Lex Powers, SEPTA’s planning manager, who talked to transportation reporter Patricia Madej about how the agency is planning for a new era.

To participate in school, every student needs to be immunized under Pennsylvania law, but the deadline has been extended to Nov. 2. Naturally, the pandemic has made the vaccine picture complex. Fewer kids are getting vaccinated, according to federal data. Reporter Kristen A. Graham has the story that notes schools opening soon to provide shots.

What you need to know today

  1. It’s official. Counties can’t begin the days-long mail ballot counting process before 7 a.m. on Election Day, potentially clearing the way for candidates to falsely declare they won.

  2. Philly teachers averted a strike by inking a tentative deal for a one-year contract yesterday.

  3. Former President Barack Obama said “character matters” when he stumped for his former vice president, Joe Biden, in Philly last night.

  4. Tonight’s debate: the last chance for highly engaged Philadelphians to see candidates spar before the fateful day. Tonight’s Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants game: a rivalry rekindled between two storied contenders. Let your conscience be your guide.

  5. City Hall veteran Tumar Alexander will permanently take over the managing director job, marking a period of change in Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration following criticism of the city’s handling of protests against systemic racism.

  6. If your small business is eligible for PPP loan forgiveness, here’s why it makes sense to hold off before you apply.

  7. A new Temple University study identified signs that may help predict which COVID-19 patients will develop a “cytokine storm,” a dangerous inflammation that an overactive immune response can trigger.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Just look at these creepy crawlers on the move. Thanks for sharing @philly_stoops!

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. 🎸Pearl Jam talked to us about how they’re hoping to reach 100,000 fans on different political pages by releasing video of their 2016 Philly show, which doubles as a voting registration push as everyone’s “waitin’...watchin' the clock” until Election Day.

  2. 👜Meet the designer who used to make $400 handbags favored by celebrities who now makes glittery, popular $29 Eagles masks.

  3. 🧪Penn State College of Medicine isn’t the only group to conduct a study to show that mouthwashes can disrupt coronaviruses in lab dishes. But we should take that with a grain of salt, given that testing on real human beings is needed.

  4. 🐑One of the hardest shots recently drafted to the NHL cut it up on the ice for thousands of hours to practice. Another stepping stone? Sheep farm chores.

  5. 🍷Don’t sleep on the wine universe outlier. New Zealand’s unusual weather yields some mouthwatering results.

  6. 🍳How a mother and daughter cooking together are brightening exasperating days during pandemic life at home.


“Behind the crisis and Trump’s distractions, however, is a simple truth: rather than working to improve public education, his administration has waged a full-frontal assault on it."—write authors Jack Schneider, Jennifer Berkshire and Derek Black about how universal, tax-supported schooling is hanging in the balance of this election.

  1. Writer Abraham Gutman writes that Joe Biden in 2020 reflects the kind and gentler War on Drugs thanks to his empathy as a parent.

  2. Robert M. Peck and Keith Russell write about how we can save tens of thousands of birds from dying by cutting back on nonessential building lights.

What we’re reading

  1. Let PhillyVoice take you back to the glory days with a preview of the new documentary Maybe Next Year, about Eagles fans during the magical 2017 Super Bowl season.

  2. The Philadelphia Tribune reports on how when Black women take up the mantle of fighting apathy, they feel the burden of this election.

  3. Elle examines the ruthless Gotta Go meme that led to an uprising among celebrities.

Your Daily Dose of | Surprise

Two Philadelphia-area pals who became as thick as thieves once one donated her kidney to the other were in for the surprise of their lifetimes on Wednesday’s Ellen Degeneres Show. Sarah Hyland, the scene-stealing Modern Family star who has had two kidney transplants, and Ellen whipped out two separate $10,000 for Team BeMore, the Instagram account the friends launched to promote organ donation.