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.
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.
What you need to know today
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump spent yesterday at a fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
A few U.S. Postal Service plants are reinstalling mail sorting machines. But in Philly, more changes that could cause delays are happening.
Pennsylvania’s crowd limits are in effect again after a court order, though Gov. Tom Wolf has hinted that he’s considering allowing fans at school sports events.
Doc Rivers accepted the 76ers′ offer to be the head coach. He’ll receive a five-year contract.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and other leaders are urging more legal protections for transgender people after the recent killing of Mia Green in West Philly.
How Pennsylvania state troopers seize big money from drivers, many of whom are never charged with a crime.
Democrats Andy Kim and Amy Kennedy are raising major bucks for their South Jersey congressional races.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
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🏡 Her Biden lawn signs were stolen, so this rural Pennsylvania supporter turned her home into a campaign billboard.
🐶 🐱 Red Paw Emergency Relief will train Philly firefighters to take over its pet-saving services after planning to shut down.
🍷 Have you been drinking more since the pandemic hit? You’re not alone, especially if you’re a woman.
🍽️ Dine Latino Restaurant Week is celebrating Philly’s diverse food scene and Hispanic Heritage Month.
🦅 The Eagles and DraftKings have agreed to a sports betting and fantasy sports partnership.
“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.
National columnist Will Bunch writes that Trump revealed a clear blueprint for crushing American democracy during the debate: delegitimizing the election.
Democrats should stop taking Black, Latino, and young voters for granted, writes Maegan Llerena, director of Make the Road Action in Pennsylvania, a community organization building power in Latino, Black, and immigrant communities.
What we’re reading
Philadelphia’s Black and Latino firefighters are upset over their union’s decision to endorse President Trump. The Philadelphia Tribune asked them about it.
Shark Tank’s “Mr. Wonderful” had a glowing review of a Philly startup. Here’s what he had to say, from Technical.ly Philly.
The best new animators are making their names on TikTok. Learn more from the Verge.
Your Daily Dose of | The Upside
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.