Today, we have some updates on the theft at the city’s voting machine warehouse, including more security lapses that have come to light and changes officials have promised to increase security. Philly officials are stressing that they have every confidence that the integrity of the Nov. 3 election has not been compromised.

It’s been a big week for the Philly area. After you read this newsletter, take a deep breath, and go enjoy your Friday and your weekend. If you’re looking for something to do, you can check out the latest events at inquirer.com/calendar.

The Goines family has four kids. Because of COVID, they're homeschooling . Domonique Goines, right, works with sons L-R: Leonard Thomas-Bright, 6, Issac Thomas-Bright, 4, and Eli Thomas-Bright on Sept. 24, 2020
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
The Goines family has four kids. Because of COVID, they're homeschooling . Domonique Goines, right, works with sons L-R: Leonard Thomas-Bright, 6, Issac Thomas-Bright, 4, and Eli Thomas-Bright on Sept. 24, 2020

Kindergarten enrollment is down significantly this year around the Philly region and across the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Families are deciding to forgo traditional programs because they are often wary of, or unable to spend the time assisting children with, the virtual or hybrid programs most schools are offering. For hybrid programs, there are safety concerns as well.

“Everything that makes kindergarten isn’t there this year,” said Brittny Phelps, mom to a 5-year-old in Gloucester County. “Why go through the trouble of that? It wouldn’t have worked for us.”

The investigation is continuing into the memory sticks, used to program Philly’s voting machines, that were stolen from an elections warehouse in East Falls. More lapses in security and record-keeping surfaced yesterday. A lack of surveillance footage from inside the warehouse has stymied investigators trying to track down the thief. And a reporter with WHYY’s Billy Penn posted a video of himself entering the warehouse unhindered Thursday morning and being alone among rows of voting machines for several minutes.

City officials are assuring the public that they have every confidence that the integrity of the election has not been compromised by these developments. A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney said yesterday that an around-the-clock police presence has been set up outside the warehouse, and strict log-in procedures have been established. So far, police have discovered no evidence to suggest the thefts were related to the election.

The Pennsylvania House canceled its voting session yesterday after a Republican lawmaker tested positive for the coronavirus. The House is adjourned until Oct. 19. This delayed a crucial vote to extend a rent relief program that just expired.

For now, the $150 million program is in limbo. The adjournment has also put several election-related measures on hold — with just over 30 days to go until Election Day, Nov. 3.

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“While I certainly acknowledge that there are challenges and difficulties involved in transracial adoption, as a product of the system, I cannot help but look at it as what it is: kindhearted people doing their best to help a broken situation.” — writes Dan Pearson, a Black son adopted by white parents on Amy Coney Barrett’s mixed-race family.

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Erik James Montgomery, is photographed in front of his portraits photographs posted on an abandoned building along Mount Ephraim Avenue, in Camden, N.J. Monday, September 21, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Erik James Montgomery, is photographed in front of his portraits photographs posted on an abandoned building along Mount Ephraim Avenue, in Camden, N.J. Monday, September 21, 2020.

Erik James Montgomery is a professional photographer, and his latest project, “Camden Is Bright Not Blight,” is getting a lot of attention. He’s taking portraits of Camden residents and installing them on the facades of vacant buildings. The messages accompanying them are selected by the subjects of the portraits. Learn more about Montgomery and the project here.