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The 10 Pa. counties to watch tomorrow | Morning Newsletter

And calls to ‘defund the police’ intensify after killing of Walter Wallace Jr.

    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 from our newsroom.

First: Election Day eve. Here. We. Go. All eyes on Pennsylvania for any sign of which way the crucial state will swing. To give you a decent idea of where things could be headed, we explained the dynamics of the 10 counties worth watching.

Then: The past week of fallout from the police shooting and killing of Walter Wallace Jr. has renewed calls to defund the police from activists and some politicians.

O.K. let’s get into it.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Pennsylvania is the coveted state Biden and Trump want in their winning column. In fact, it could decide the winner who takes the whole thing.

But we may not know who won by election night thanks to people voting by mail in unprecedented numbers. Also of note: procedural discrepancies between counties. The key point: early returns may not show the whole picture and evolving numbers could end up tipping the election in another direction.

It could come down to who’s turning out where, and those patterns could ripple. These are the ten counties you should be watching as the election results roll in, each with fascinating dynamics that distinguish them.

The past week of loss, protest and destruction in Philadelphia has renewed calls from activists to reconsider a vision for public safety. Some want to “defund the police,” a proposal that would reduce law enforcement funding and divert money to neighborhood groups or social service providers who can respond to some calls that officers typically handle.

We’re continuing to cover all the latest developments and fallout from the fatal shooting.

What you need to know today

  1. President Donald Trump recently made an implicit statement about how he might withhold federal disaster relief funds from Pennsylvania in the future. How worried should residents be about possible retribution?

  2. As Pennsylvania argues over when to open ballots, meanwhile across the river in New Jersey, they’re just doing it.

  3. Joe Biden rolled through Philly to rouse Democrats for two of the final stops of his presidential campaign in the state that could decide the entire election.

  4. New polls show Biden holds a distinct advantage over Trump in Pennsylvania as the election comes closer to meeting its conclusion.

  5. But the showdown for the Oval isn’t the only thing that’s on the ballot. Here’s what you should know about Pa. row offices.

  6. We talked to voters all over the entire state of Pennsylvania about how they’re bracing themselves for one of the most charged elections in memory, and it’s not your typical jitters.

  7. And the encouraging reason why Penn State’s loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes was actually a win.

  8. If you’re looking to score discounted rides to the polls, here are your options.

  9. SEPTA is cutting its overnight weekend rail service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines. It’s the first big pandemic-related change since spring’s major moves.

  10. 🦅Eagles, wearing Vote 2020 shirts, beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-9 last night.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Thanks for capturing this weekend’s spooky full moon behind the spire of One Liberty @phillydroneshots.

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. 🍫When it comes to vices like booze, gambling, candy and sloth to name four, the pandemic has showed us how the anxiety of the time can so easily drive us in the opposite direction of self-control. Will our vice-heavy habits last when this is over?

  2. 😷And as we look forward after inevitable unprocessed trauma, what are the repercussions for living in a society gripped by mortality that have given this time such a frenetic pace?

  3. 🗳️Here’s what a group of Pennsylvania voters in a substantial conversation think about how Trump handled the pandemic.

  4. 💰Some small-business owners who applied for $225 million in Pennsylvania state grant money are getting funds at last, but thousands more need help.


“There are so many problems that America needs to address, but all of that hinges on the coming weeks and whether we fulfill our already frayed but implied 1787 promise to Ben Franklin made right here in Philadelphia: A republic, if we can keep it.” — columnist Will Bunch writes that the election is a showdown between freedom and fascism.

  1. Julie Werner-Simon, a Drexel adjunct law professor, writes that Trump, Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr bear responsibility for the persisting police propensity to shoot first.

  2. Rick Steves, host of public television’s Rick Steves' Europe, writes that current laws against marijuana use are causing more harm to our society than the drug itself.

What we’re reading

  1. WHYY News visited a New Jersey ballot processing center where they said the vote counting scene invited comparison to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

  2. NBCSports dug up the interesting history on quarterbacks making their first career starts against the Eagles.

  3. This guy turned his whole pandemic loneliness situation around by making papier-mâché masks of his coworkers who were all in on it.

Your Daily Dose of | Activity

While the collective psyche is on just a bit of an edge for the bracingly stressful week ahead, we’ve rounded up some truly interesting (and truly fun) activities for kids and “big kids” alike to feel like kids in Philly right now. Virtual playdate or a post-Halloween scavenger hunt anyone?