7:26 PM - October 30, 2020
7:26 PM - October 30, 2020

No mail ballot applications were challenged in Philly region

People waiting in line to apply for mail ballots at Philadelphia City Hall on Monday.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
People waiting in line to apply for mail ballots at Philadelphia City Hall on Monday.

If anyone thought there were dead people, undocumented immigrants, family pets, or other unqualified voters trying to vote by mail in Philly, they weren’t willing to put any money behind it.

More than 1.2 million applications have been approved to vote by mail in Philadelphia and its four suburban counties, and not a single one was challenged as coming from someone other than a qualified voter by the 5 p.m. deadline for bringing such challenges, county elections officials said. That means no ballots will need to be set aside in advance, speeding the counting of votes.

State law says that once a county approves a voter’s mail ballot application, “such approval decision shall be final and binding, except that challenges may be made only on the ground that the applicant was not a qualified elector."

Those challenges have to be filed by 5 p.m. the Friday before Election Day, and they require $10 per challenge. The money goes into a county’s general fund unless the challenge is successful or is withdrawn.

Republicans did challenge 237 applications in Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, because they said the voter ID numbers provided by the county did not match state data, “suggesting that the challenged individuals may not be registered Pennsylvania electors.”

It’s unclear why there may be a mismatch in the data, which could occur for reasons beyond malfeasance.A letter from the woman challenging the applications said it was being made on behalf of the Allegheny County Republican Party, which a county spokesperson said provided the requisite $2,370 in cash. The letter was sent by email and signed “John Walsh – Volunteer, Donald J. Trump for President Inc.”

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

Despite oft-repeated myths about dead voters and other electoral shenanigans, there is no widespread voter fraud in modern elections. While there have been cases of individual fraud, they are very rare — an incredibly small fraction of votes — and not part of large conspiracies to rig elections.

Friday’s deadline is the last opportunity state law provides for challenging mail votes. Lawmakers took a previous process for challenging actual ballots out of the law, leaving no specified process for challenging ballots as they are counted and no listed reasons why challenges would be allowed. Other than by going to court, parties and campaigns may have no options for challenging ballots as they are processed and counted.

Jonathan Lai, Laura McCrystal

6:37 PM - October 30, 2020
6:37 PM - October 30, 2020

2.3 million Pa. voters have returned mail ballots

Pennsylvania voters have returned 2.3 million mail ballots, according to data from the Department of State.

More than 3 million mail ballots have been sent to voters. That leaves more than 780,000 mail ballots that have not yet been marked as returned. In the last week, more than 918,000 completed mail ballots were returned to county election offices.

Laura McCrystal

5:49 PM - October 30, 2020
5:49 PM - October 30, 2020

RNC calls Pennsylvania an ‘epicenter’ for potential problems and litigation

RNC officials on Friday said Pennsylvania is the “epicenter” for potential problems and a focus for both parties, particularly because of the many and significant changes in its mail-in voting law.

The legislation that greatly expanded mail-in voting in the state was “a little sloppy,” they said, and left certain things open to interpretation. (Although they didn’t specify, Republicans in the state have argued for blocking the use of drop boxes and satellite offices).

RNC officials said they have dispatched dozens of people, including lawyers, to the state to monitor voting on Election Day. One of their top priorities is the fate of ballots that arrive after polls close on Nov. 3.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has allowed counties to receive and count mail-in and absentee ballots until close of business on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day (although a majority of justices on the high court also ruled that ballots with illegible or missing postmarks can also be counted, as long as they arrive by the Friday after the election).

Pennsylvania’s top elections official, Kathy Boockvar, has ordered that all ballots arriving after polls close should be set aside by county officials and counted separately.

Though that has given Republicans some confidence that those ballots will not immediately be included in the state’s total vote, RNC officials said litigation over those ballots will be all but certain if the election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is close.

—Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA

3:47 PM - October 30, 2020
3:47 PM - October 30, 2020

Sunday’s Eagles game to feature “Vote 2020” T-shirts and field logo

The Philadelphia Eagles will remind fans to vote during Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, with T-shirts and a stencil on the field.

In partnership with Rock The Vote and the NFL Votes campaign, Eagles players and team personnel will wear T-shirts that say “Vote 2020” on the front. The back of the shirts will have a quote from former congressman John Lewis: “Voting is the most powerful non-violent tool we have.”

The grass at Lincoln Financial Field will also be stenciled with a green logo that says “Philadelphia VOTES,” according to an image provided by Rock The Vote.

The Eagles will also host a drive-thru drop box for mail ballots in the stadium parking lot on Saturday and Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cheerleaders and Swoop, the team’s mascot, will be present to greet Philadelphia voters.

Laura McCrystal

2:39 PM - October 30, 2020
2:39 PM - October 30, 2020

National Guard will not be stationed near Philly polling places, Mayor Kenney says

A pedestrian walks past members of the National Guard as they stand guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building on Friday.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
A pedestrian walks past members of the National Guard as they stand guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building on Friday.

As some worry about whether an increased police presence in Philadelphia and elsewhere will have a psychological impact on voters in Tuesday’s presidential election, Mayor Jim Kenney said National Guard members will not be stationed near polling places on Election Day in the city.

The Guard “won’t be enforcing law. They’ll be guarding property,” he said. On Election Day, “I think people will feel safer if the community and city is calm as opposed to the city not being calm.”

State law says police officers may not be inside or within 100 feet of polling places unless called in to respond to specific situations, and that “No body of troops in the Army of the United States or of this Commonwealth shall be present, either armed or unarmed, at any place of election within this Commonwealth during the time of any primary or election”

The National Guard arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, in the wake of unrest following the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., and is expected to stay through Election Day.

Erin McCarthy, Jonathan Lai

1:38 PM - October 30, 2020
1:38 PM - October 30, 2020

‘We don’t want your help’: Delco officials warn against voter intimidation at polls

Delaware County First Assistant District Attorney Tanner Rouse speaks at a news conference on Election Day preparations at the Delaware County Courthouse on Friday.
Stephanie Farr / staff
Delaware County First Assistant District Attorney Tanner Rouse speaks at a news conference on Election Day preparations at the Delaware County Courthouse on Friday.

Voters in Delaware County will be allowed to open-carry guns at polling places on Election Day and will not be required to wear masks, but those who decide to do so may face close scrutiny or long waits, county officials said Friday.

At a news conference at the Delaware County Courthouse, prosecutors and law enforcement officials said because Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, voters will be allowed to bring guns into their polling location, so long as that site is not one where carrying a firearm is already prohibited by law, such as a school.

“The thing is if they hang around a polling place, intimidate people, if they even twitch as if they’re going to grab it to scare a person or intimidate someone then we have a problem and we have to intervene at that point,” said First Assistant District Attorney Tanner Rouse.

While he urged all voters to wear a mask, Rouse said if someone chooses not to they will still be allowed to vote but that person will have to wait as officials on site clear the polling place of all other people.

“You’re putting people at risk,” he said. “You will have to make concessions.”County officials urged residents not to believe “hype” and “chatter” swirling on social media about possible voter intimidation tactics.

James Nolan, chief of the county’s Criminal Investigation Division, said his office has already conducted several investigations — less than a dozen — stemming from social media posts indicating that people were going to try and put cameras inside polling locations or that they were recruiting groups of civilians to police polling places on Election Day.

“If you think for some reason law enforcement needs your help and that you’re going to form some makeshift militia to go and intimidate voters I will say again, don’t do it,” Rouse said. “We don’t need your help and we don’t want your help.”

Investigations so far have not revealed any intelligence to suggest elections in Delaware County will be anything but peaceful Tuesday, Rouse said, but a bipartisan contingent of county prosecutors and law enforcement officials will be prepared for anything.

Voters who want to report issues at their Delaware County polling sites on Election Day can call the county hotline at 610-891-4797.

Stephanie Farr

1:24 PM - October 30, 2020
1:24 PM - October 30, 2020

Trump adds a fourth Pa. rally to Saturday schedule

President Donald Trump is introduced at a rally in Florida on Thursday. He will return to Pennsylvania on Saturday for four rallies.
Chris O'Meara / AP
President Donald Trump is introduced at a rally in Florida on Thursday. He will return to Pennsylvania on Saturday for four rallies.

President Donald Trump has added a fourth campaign rally in Pennsylvania to his Saturday schedule as both campaigns focus on the battleground state in the final days of the campaign.

In addition to three rallies previously planned in Bucks, Berks, and Butler Counties, Trump will now also hold a Saturday evening rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Lycoming County. He will also hold a rally Monday in Luzerne County.

As recent polls show Biden with a consistent lead in Pennsylvania over Trump, Saturday’s rallies represent an effort to turn around lagging support in the state.

Trump’s rallies, which typically feature large crowds of mostly maskless supporters, are planned as Pennsylvania faces a surge in COVID-19 cases that has surpassed the first peak of the pandemic in the spring.

Here is his planned schedule for Saturday, according to his campaign:

  • 1:30 p.m.: Bucks County
  • 2:30 p.m.: Reading Regional Airport, Reading, Berks County
  • 5:30 p.m.: Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport, Butler County
  • 8:30 p.m.: Williamsport Regional Airport, Montoursville, Lycoming County

First Lady Melania Trump will also travel to Pennsylvania on Saturday. She will speak at 5 p.m. in Wapwallopen, Luzerne County, according to the campaign.

Donald Trump will travel to Luzerne County on Monday. He is expected to hold a 2 p.m. rally at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.

Laura McCrystal

1:06 PM - October 30, 2020
1:06 PM - October 30, 2020

Waiting until after Election Day to count mail ballots could lead to even stronger 'blue shift’

Hundreds of voters wait in line at the Delaware County Voter Service Center in Media on Tuesday, the last day to apply for mail ballots.
RACHEL WISNIEWSKI / For the Inquirer
Hundreds of voters wait in line at the Delaware County Voter Service Center in Media on Tuesday, the last day to apply for mail ballots.

Months of false attacks from President Donald Trump on the vote-by-mail system as fraudulent or rigged have driven a deep partisan divide on voting methods, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to vote by mail. Because nearly all in-person votes will be counted on election night, that will likely mean the unofficial election results on Tuesday will appear skewed more toward Trump than the final numbers will show.

That has fueled fear of public confusion around the results, with Democrats particularly concerned that Trump could falsely claim victory based on very incomplete numbers.

Seven Pennsylvania counties say they won’t start counting mail ballots on Tuesday, and that decision could make a “blue shift” after Election Day even stronger, since ballots they could have counted that day will instead not be included until afterward. Nearly 185,000 voters had been approved to receive mail ballots in those counties as of Thursday morning.

“We are directly reaching out to the counties that are being indicated as not planning to count,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “We are also reaching out to all the counties to explain why this matters, why — even if you can only do part — to get started as early as humanly possible on Election Day matters for every single county, of any size. But certainly the more mail-in and absentee ballots they have, the more it matters.”

Jonathan Lai

1:01 PM - October 30, 2020
1:01 PM - October 30, 2020

Top Pa. elections official pushes back at counties planning to delay counting mail ballots

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar speaks before a post-election audit pilot at the ballot storage facility in Philadelphia's Nicetown section in 2019.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar speaks before a post-election audit pilot at the ballot storage facility in Philadelphia's Nicetown section in 2019.

Pennsylvania’s top elections official pushed back at the handful of counties who have said they won’t start counting mail ballots on Election Day, saying that in some cases the counties claim to not have the resources to do so but never sought federal and philanthropic money that was available to them.

“Some counties alleged that they didn’t have resources, so I asked for a counting of the federal grants that became available early this year, and you know, of the seven counties identified, four of them have not sought any of the federal grants that they’ve been told many times that they have available, that’s literally — that are sitting in accounts by the Department of State, waiting to be distributed to them,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars have not been sought by four of the counties. Five of the counties have not sought anything under one of the two grants, and again four have not sought anything under either of the grants.”

In addition, Boockvar said, none of the counties asked for funding from Center for Tech and Civic Life, a non-profit foundation that has been underwriting election costs across the country, including grants to Philadelphia and Delaware County. Boockvar said she confirmed Friday morning that the nonprofit will still accept requests from counties and “will provide funding to counties to allow them to start precanvassing their ballots on Election Day.”

The counting of mail ballots has been a contentious election administration issue this year, with counties saying they should be allowed to start the long process before Election Day if results are to come in quickly after polls close. State law forbids counties from starting that process until 7 a.m. on Election Day, meaning only a fraction of the state’s mail ballots can be counted by the end of the night.

But counties are also not required to begin the process on Election Day. At least seven counties — Beaver, Cumberland, Franklin, Greene, Mercer, Monroe, and Montour — have indicated they will not count mail ballots until the day after, citing a variety of reasons centered on the need to focus their attention and resources on the in-person election.

Jonathan Lai

12:00 PM - October 30, 2020
12:00 PM - October 30, 2020

Jill Biden returning to her Montco high school tonight to host a rally

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, stand on stage during the drive-in event at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pa., on Saturday, Oct., 24, 2020.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, stand on stage during the drive-in event at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pa., on Saturday, Oct., 24, 2020.

Jill Biden will host a rally with teachers and union members at her alma mater, Upper Moreland High School in Willow Grove today at 5 p.m. tonight.

Biden talked to the Inquirer about growing up in Willow Grove and how a high school teacher at Upper Moreland inspired her interest in education. She was the first second lady to hold a full time job outside of the White House and says she’d continue teaching at community college if her husband is elected president.

This will be her first campaign stop in her hometown where she lived until she went off to college, first Brandywine (now Widener University) and then the University of Delaware.

Biden will meet with members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), including president of NEA Becky Pringle and AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus.

She often touts her Philadelphia area roots on the campaign trail, introducing herself wherever she might be in the state as a “a Philly girl.” She’ll be back in Pennsylvania on Monday when she’ll join Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff in a barnstorm all over the state, the campaign has said.

“Philadelphians are really resilient,” Biden told the Inquirer in September. “It’s a city with a lot of grit, and I love that.”

— Julia Terruso

11:55 AM - October 30, 2020
11:55 AM - October 30, 2020

Pa. health secretary urges voters to wear masks on Election Day

A SEPTA bus with a mask reminder goes by a pedestrian on Ridge Ave. neat the Wissahickon Transportation Center on Oct. 14, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
A SEPTA bus with a mask reminder goes by a pedestrian on Ridge Ave. neat the Wissahickon Transportation Center on Oct. 14, 2020.

Pennsylvania voters should protect themselves and prevent COVID-19 transmission on Election Day by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Friday.

“It will be safe for people to vote in person,” Levine said. “If you’re voting in person, it’s important to have a plan, and as part of that plan, of course, take COVID-19 into consideration.”

That plan should include bringing what a “COVID kit” to the polls, she told reporters.

“Your COVID kid should include a mask, hand sanitizer, a blue or black pen, and we strongly recommend that you download the COVID Alert PA mobile app to your phone,” Levine said.

Poll workers will be wearing PPE, regularly sanitizing surfaces, and enforcing social distancing on Tuesday to help protect themselves and voters.

Counties have also written up their own guidelines, including Philadelphia, where doors and windows at polling places will be opened for ventilation. Voters who refuse to wear masks in Philly will be allowed to vote, but poll workers are instructed to clear out other voters as much as possible and keep other people away from the unmasked voters.

— Jonathan Lai

11:40 AM - October 30, 2020
11:40 AM - October 30, 2020

Pa. mail ballot drop boxes will be locked at 8 p.m. on Election Day

Dan West, of King of Prussia, uses the secure ballot drop box location for the 2020 election in Norristown, Pa.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Dan West, of King of Prussia, uses the secure ballot drop box location for the 2020 election in Norristown, Pa.

Pennsylvania’s mail ballot drop boxes must be locked when polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, meaning any voters who are in line to drop off their ballots at that time will not be able to do so, state elections officials said Friday.

“[Mail ballots] have to be received by the county by 8 p.m., and the counties will lock the drop boxes at 8 p.m.,” Jonathan Marks, deputy security for elections and commissions at the Department of State, told reporters.

That does not apply to people who are in line at polling places to vote in person; a voter in line at the polls by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote, regardless of how long the line is and what time they get to the front of it.

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the state’s top elections official, repeated the plea she has been making in recent days to Pennsylvania voters: Get your ballots in now.

“Don’t wait until Election Day. There are likely to be lines, even at drop boxes, even though, you know, they do move quickly,” she said. “But I urge everybody, don’t be in that position. Do it today, do it tomorrow.”

— Jonathan Lai

11:31 AM - October 30, 2020
11:31 AM - October 30, 2020

Gov. Wolf says Republicans' actions on voting and ballots seem like ‘suppression’

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf with his face mask at a press conference outside the Bucks County Justice Center, Main St. in Doylestown, PA on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf with his face mask at a press conference outside the Bucks County Justice Center, Main St. in Doylestown, PA on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

President Donald Trump’s campaign is denying that it is trying to suppress voter turnout in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, a claim Gov. Tom Wolf called “nonsense.”

Wolf, during an interview on MSNBC Friday morning, claimed Republicans have stood in the way of calls from counties across the commonwealth — both Republican and Democratic — to allow the counting of mail-in ballots to begin before Election Day.

Wolf also pointed to court challenges by Republicans aimed at preventing mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted up to three days later, which the state’s Supreme Court permitted. The Supreme Court rejected a plea from Pennsylvania Republicans to strike down the three-day extension, but left open the possibly of hearing the case after the election and potentially prohibiting those votes from being counted.

Nick Trainer, the Trump campaign’s director of battleground strategy, called the actions “election transparency efforts” in a statement to Politico, claiming it was Democrats who were scaring voters away from the polls due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve actually been taking in ballots late from the military for decades, so that was really nothing new,” Wolf said. “So it certainly seems like suppression.”

Several Pennsylvania counties have said they won’t begin counting mail ballots until the day after Election Day, increasing the likelihood that early returns could give a misleading impression of the vote, since Democrats are voting far more heavily by mail. In some counties, mail ballots may not begin being tallied until Nov. 4.

— Rob Tornoe

11:20 AM - October 30, 2020
11:20 AM - October 30, 2020

Former N.J. Democrat who pledged ‘undying support’ to Trump now in dead heat

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew with President Donald Trump at a Trump campaign rally in Wildwood on Jan. 28, 2020.
HEATHER KHALIFA / MCT
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew with President Donald Trump at a Trump campaign rally in Wildwood on Jan. 28, 2020.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew and Amy Kennedy are in a “dead heat” in South Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Stockton University and released Friday, showed Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy of Brigantine with a one point lead, 46% to 45%, over incumbent Van Drew, the now-famous party switcher who pledged his “undying support” for President Trump in the Oval Office and then hosted Trump at a rally in Wildwood.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 22-27 of 676 likely voters in the district, which covers all of Atlantic, Cape Cay, Cumberland and Salem Counties, and small portions of four other counties.

Just six percent were undecided or refused to pick a candidate, according to the release from the Polling Institute at the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton.

Despite Van Drew’s history as a Democrat, and his long-standing brand as a candidate with crossover appeal, the poll showed little crossover support, with about 5% of Republicans supporting Kennedy and only 4% of Van Drew’s former Democratic party-mates still on his side.

Independent voters favored Van Drew in the poll 48% to 42%.

— Amy S. Rosenberg

9:20 AM - October 30, 2020
9:20 AM - October 30, 2020

Philly firefighter union stands by controversial Trump endorsement as members remain divided

Anthony Hudgins (microphone) and other members of Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22 gathered in protest outside their Union Hall, 415 N. 5th St. Philadelphia on October 2, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Anthony Hudgins (microphone) and other members of Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22 gathered in protest outside their Union Hall, 415 N. 5th St. Philadelphia on October 2, 2020.

The union representing firefighters in Philadelphia will stand by its endorsement of President Donald Trump, following a month of controversy and a series of angry protests.

Club Valiants, a 400-member group of Black firefighters, sued Local 22 of the International Firefighters and Paramedics Union last week, claiming the timing and process used in the Sept. 29 endorsement by the executive board and a follow-up vote by all union members violated its bylaws on political activity.

Some members have also filed charges with their international union, seeking to oust Local 22 president Mike Bresnan, who pushed for the original endorsement and then called for the full union vote by mail — costing $14,000.

“We’re not arguing that we should endorse Biden,” said William Tung, a Local 22 member fighting the endorsement. “We’re just saying we should stay out of it.”

— Chris Brennan

7:40 AM - October 30, 2020
7:40 AM - October 30, 2020

Biden coming to Philly on Sunday, will campaign with Kamala Harris in Pa. on Monday

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the podium during the drive-in event at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pa., on Saturday, Oct., 24, 2020.
File Photograph
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the podium during the drive-in event at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pa., on Saturday, Oct., 24, 2020.

Biden will do one final swing through Pennsylvania before Election Day on Tuesday, and he’s bringing his running mate with him.

The former vice president will travel to Philadelphia for an event on Sunday, Nov. 1, though the campaign has not released further details. Fortunately for Biden the Eagles play on Sunday night this week, so he won’t have to compete against the Birds.

On Monday, Nov. 2., Biden will be joined by his wife, Jill Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and her husband, Doug Emhoff. The group will “fan out across all four corners of the state” in a last-minute barnstorm of Pennsylvania one day before Election Day.

Recent polls show Biden with a consistent lead in Pennsylvania over President Donald Trump. FiveThirtyEight’s average of recent polls shows Biden with a 5 percentage point lead, while Real Clear Politics has the former vice president up about 4.3 percentage points.

— Rob Tornoe and Julie Terruso

7:30 AM - October 30, 2020
7:30 AM - October 30, 2020

Some see Trump as a ‘protector.’ Others have ‘had enough.’ Military voters in Pa. are deeply divided.

Retired Army Sgt. Claudette Williams is photographed at the Women Veterans Museum in Mt. Pocono, PA. Thursday, October 15, 2020. Williams is running for state rep, seeking to unseat the Republican incumbent. Last year she opened a small museum dedicated to the history of women in the military.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Retired Army Sgt. Claudette Williams is photographed at the Women Veterans Museum in Mt. Pocono, PA. Thursday, October 15, 2020. Williams is running for state rep, seeking to unseat the Republican incumbent. Last year she opened a small museum dedicated to the history of women in the military.

It started gradually for Jim Hillegas, a feeling of unease that would creep in whenever he saw news about President Donald Trump’s talks with foreign leaders or conflicts with long-standing U.S. allies. One day Hillegas, a “die-hard Republican,” had a bizarre thought: He wished Trump would act more presidential.

In retrospect, more like President Barack Obama.

Hillegas, a 53-year-old UPS driver who served in the Navy in the 1980s and lives in this small rural town in the Poconos, supported Trump in 2016. But following years of what he sees as a dangerous erosion of America’s standing in the world, he’s voting for Joe Biden.

“I will remain a Republican for the rest of my life,” said Hillegas, who flies Navy and American flags from his porch. “But I’ve had enough of this president. I just can’t do it.”

Strong military support helped elect Trump in 2016, and national polls show he remains the preferred candidate of the nation’s military households. But the same surveys show Trump has lost ground with both active-duty service members and veterans since taking office. While Trump leads Biden by 10 percentage points among military-affiliated voters, according to a Morning Consult poll last month, that’s significantly smaller than the advantage he had in 2016, when veterans chose him over Hillary Clinton by almost a 2-1 ratio.

— Allison Steele

7:15 AM - October 30, 2020
7:15 AM - October 30, 2020

Pa. Democrats enter the homestretch fearing the Supreme Court will throw out votes

Pennsylvania Democrats are increasingly alarmed that the U.S. Supreme Court might intervene to throw out mail ballots that arrive after Election Day, after three conservative justices on the high court this week held open the possibility of reversing a state court ruling that extended the deadline for returning them.

Meanwhile, several Pennsylvania counties have said they won’t begin counting mail ballots until the day after Election Day, increasing the likelihood that early returns that night could give a misleading impression of the vote, since Democrats are voting far more heavily by mail. In some counties, their votes may not be tallied until Nov. 4.

And the prospect of a days-long day delay before a fuller picture of the results is known, Democrats fear, will open a window for Trump to prematurely declare victory as public perceptions harden around incomplete tallies.

Some Pennsylvania Democrats sound increasingly confident Joe Biden will have the votes to win the key battleground state — and with it, likely the presidency.

But one of Biden’s closest allies in Pennsylvania worried Thursday that an unrestrained Trump or a newly reshaped Supreme Court could dismiss or thwart ballots voters had cast under the current deadline, and potentially secure a second term for the president.

— Jonathan Tamari, Andrew Seidman, Julia Terruso and Jonathan Lai

7:10 AM - October 30, 2020
7:10 AM - October 30, 2020

Eagles will host drive-through ballot drop box at stadium

The Philadelphia Eagles are partnering with the City Commissioners to host a mail ballot drop-off site in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field.

The drop box will be available only on Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Voters must remain in their cars and wear masks, the City Commissioners said in a news release.

Eagles cheerleaders and Swoop, the team’s mascot, will be present to greet voters.

The drop off will be in parking lot K at the stadium, which can be accessed from 11th Street near Pattison Avenue.

— Laura McCrystal

7:00 AM - October 30, 2020
7:00 AM - October 30, 2020

Friday morning round-up: Jill Biden in Montco, Donald Trump Jr. in York Springs and Altoona

  • Former Second Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to host an educator mobilization rally in Montgomery County on Friday at 5 p.m., while Donald Trump Jr. will host two events — one in York Springs, Adams County at noon, and a second in Altoona, Blair County, at 3 p.m.
  • On Friday, President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold separate rallies in three states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Biden will also make stops in three different states today — Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
  • Pennsylvania voters who haven’t yet received their mail ballots are getting nervous.
  • President Donald Trump sees Latino voters as a rare bright spot in Pennsylvania.