Philly gets $10 million grant to secure November election

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia election officials have received a $10 million grant to help run the November election, amidst budget cuts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and fears about ballot security.

City Commissioners Chair Lisa Deeley said she's excited about the grant from the nonprofit, non-partisan Center for Tech and Civil Life. While there are so many concerns about the election, Deeley said the grant addresses...some of them.

"It'll provide the ability to upgrade the equipment for processing the applications and the ballots in a more timely manner, and we'll be able to distribute PPE and have training and we’ll be able to stand up and staff the intended satellite locations.

Deeley says the City Commissioner's Office plans to open 17 satellite locations for in-person, on-demand mail-in ballots, in addition to 800 in-person polling places. That’s more than the 500 it had for the primary but still far less than the usual 2,100. She says they're actively looking for poll workers, who, thanks to the grant, will get $50 for training and $200 for working Election Day. 

More measures are needed to speed mail-in ballot results, according to Deeley, who said they wouldn't cost a thing.

"Legislative changes that would allow counties to pre-canvas, giving us ample time to count those ballots," she described, "and I would personally like to see the elimination of the security envelope. That would speed up the processing."

In the primary, more than half the nearly 350,000 votes were mail-in or absentee. Results weren't official for three weeks.

Below is the full text of the grant agreement.