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The Post  
Free 'Voter Express' Trolley Service to Polls; City Tavern Closes; Philly Officials Ask for Patience
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 11/02/20 3:27 pm | updated: 11/02/20 3:27 pm
Live Nation, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local No. 8, and Philadelphia Building Trades will be sponsoring the 'Voter Express' as part of their 'Get Out the Vote' Campaign. On Monday, 11/2, the free trolley service will be running throughout West and Southwest Philadelphia and bringing voters to Lincoln Financial Field to drop off mail-in ballots. On Tuesday, 11/3, Election Day, there will be several free trolley routes running in North Philadelphia and Kensington. Masks are required to ride and hand sanitizers will be available on board. "Just how important some sections of the city are that need to get out and exercise their right to vote. So we're focused on those areas of the city," said Michael Barnes, president of IATSE Local 8. "We don't know whether this is going to help or not, but we want to do everything we possibly can to make this the best election."

SEE: Philly Voter Express Free Trolley Routes

The historic City Tavern on 2nd Street in Old City has closed due to declining business as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The colonial-themed restaurant has roots dating back to 1773 and was the "the unofficial meeting place" of delegates to the first Continental Congress at nearby Carpenters' Hall serving George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. The building is owned by the National Park Service, but the restaurant was operated by Walter Staib since 1994. Staib said tourism, especially from overseas, was a big part his business and has been nonexistent during the pandemic.

"After a wonderful journey, it is with heartbreaking sadness we announce the immediate closure of City Tavern Restaurant," the restaurant said in a statement. "While our chapter may have ended, there will surely be much more in store under the stewardship of the National Park Service of this 247-year-old treasure. It has been our privilege to be a part of so many special life occasions, and to have been a hallmark of the Philadelphia community through many great years, even during difficult times. Chef Staib would like to thank our friends, family, fans, guests, vendors, and staff for their stalwart support over the last 26 years of his proprietorship."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners Lisa Deeley released an open letter to all Philadelphians asking for patience during Election Day and the days to follow as ballots are counted. More than 400,000 mail-in ballots have been cast in the city. Officials cannot begin to process those ballots until 7 a.m. on November 3. State election officials hope to have all mail-in ballots counted by Friday. There will be 718 polling locations open throughout the city. They say that 85% of voters will be voting in their usual location. Turnout is expected to be big and lines will be long. They will also appear longer due to social distancing. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are already in line at 8 p.m., you will still be allowed to vote. However, if you intend to drop off a completed mail-in ballot, those boxes will be locked right at 8 p.m. so drop it off as soon as possible.

Letter from Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Deeley:
Fellow Philadelphians:

Amid all the speeches and slogans, the tweets and talk shows, the rallies and rhetoric, the election in Philadelphia really comes down to some very simple concepts: fairness, integrity, access, and accurate results.

We are writing to ask that as you prepare for tomorrow's election, remember those four principles. They are not empty words or phrases. They are the core of what we are trying to accomplish.

Fairness: The City's election planning, processes and procedures favor no party or group. Our bipartisan City Commissioners have stressed that at every step. This will be a truly democratic election -- small 'd' -- and no voter should face intimidation or coercion by anyone. Any aggressive behavior or voter intimidation at the polls won't be tolerated -- this includes attempts by individuals who are not certified poll watchers to access polling locations and observe voting.

Members of the public are encouraged to report possible criminal attempts to interfere with or influence voting and election activity by calling the DAO Election Task Force hotline at 215-686-9641.

Integrity: The voting -- in-person on Tuesday or mail-in ballots submitted early -- will not in any way be manipulated or tainted. The voting machines that are in place for November 3 have been tested now in two prior elections. This prior use means that well-trained staff and polling place volunteers have the experience to ensure the machines are set up correctly and will be operating properly. And our operation to count mail-in ballots has added more equipment and staff to help speed the process.

Access: This election, we're opening 718 voting locations -- more than triple the number of polling places available in the June primary. That means nearly 85 percent of voters will be voting in the polling location they have used in their neighborhoods for years. All information is offered in both English and Spanish, interpretation services are provided at every polling place, COVID safety precautions are in place, and all locations are accessible for people with disabilities.

Accurate results: Our election officials will be working tirelessly to count and double-check every ballot, They have worked closely with the firm that manufactures the voting machines to ensure accurate tallies. The Commissioners have set up a tremendous, secure facility at the Convention Center to process and count mail-in and absentee ballots -- more than 400,000 at last count.

There's a fifth concept that we need you to contribute: patience.

We expect long lines at the polls. Not only will turnout be strong, but the importance of the choices on the ballot means that everyone will be taking their time before locking in their vote. And the lines will seem even longer because of the need for everyone to stay six feet apart.

So on Election Day, please be patient -- the people working your voting station and waiting with you are your neighbors. They are doing their best. And remember that so long as you are in line by the time the polls close at 8 p.m., you will be able to vote.

After the polls close, and in the ensuing days, we will continue to need your patience. Never in the history of this city have so many people voted by mail. By law, staffers are not allowed to start opening and counting these ballots until Election Day itself.

That means getting a tally of mail-in ballots will easily take several days. This may determine the outcome in Philadelphia, and in the Commonwealth as a whole. So, again, please be patient.

Patience brings calm. We know all Philadelphians have been through a difficult year, and you know the importance of this election. So we close this letter with one last ask: if you should encounter frustrating or difficult situations on Election Day, let your inner strength guide you. Stay calm, stay respectful, stay above the fray.

With your help, we are confident that our city will shine as an example of how to run an election right.

Because we are Philadelphia.

With gratitude,
Jim Kenney
Lisa Deeley

The Philadelphia 76ers officially named Daryl Morey president of basketball operations on Monday, 11/2. They also extended the contract of GM Elton Brand. Morey stepped down from his role as GM of the Houston Rockets last month. "Talent like Daryl rarely becomes available so we moved quickly and aggressively to bring him here," team owner Josh Harris said. "He has an extraordinary track record of success in this league as an innovator, visionary and leader, and I believe he significantly improves our chances of delivering a championship caliber team to our fans. This offseason, we made it our mission to make this organization better and stronger."

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