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Uncounted ballots, due to incorrect or missing dates, were disproportionately from voters of color

Matt Rourke

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Undated ballots that went uncounted were more likely to come from nonwhite voters

(0:00 - 8:13)

Last month the state Supreme Court ruled that ballots with incorrect or missing dates on the outer envelope cast in the November 8 election should not be counted. An analysis by Votebeat and Spotlight PA found those uncounted ballots disproportionately came from communities of color.

It’s not yet clear just how many ballots went uncounted due to a missing or incorrect date, but some counties did release lists of voters who’s ballot was flawed, allowing those residents the opportunity to correct the mistake. At a minimum, there were a few thousand flawed ballots cast in Pennsylvania.

Carter Walker, voting and elections reporter for Votebeat and Spotlight PA, spoke to one affected voter from Duquesne.

“She wasn't surprised that this disproportionately affected nonwhite voters, but she was also upset,” says Walker. “Especially because her daughter is 19 this year, and she [the mother] was trying to set a good example for her, show how to be civically active and get out there and vote.”

Federal funding could help bring broadband to many rural communities

(8:17 - 17:08)

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed a year ago commits $65 billion to broadband. But there’s a lot of planning and paperwork left before that money becomes reliable internet access, especially for the least connected parts of the country.

“At this point in history, communities and families need high speed, affordable and reliable broadband to thrive,” says Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of Pennsylvania Keystone Research Center, and co-director of ReImagine Appalachia.

ReImagine Appalachia is releasing a list of broadband principles they say, if followed, will ensure the resource is established fairly and equitably across the region. These principles cover concerns like offering competitive wages to workers building the infrastructure, and encouraging communities to be discerning about which internet provider will supply the community.

Somali Bantu refugees began volunteer-run farms 

(17:15 - 22:30)

Somali Bantu refugees began arriving in Pittsburgh in the early 2000s. Members of the community started the Mwanakuche Farm. Its site in Mercer County raises chickens and goats.

In collaboration with The Allegheny Front, Terina J. Hicks of Soul Pitt Media visited the volunteer-run community garden in Pittsburgh’s Perry South neighborhood earlier this year as part of the series “Sowing Soil with Soul.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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