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Philadelphia mayor appeals for ‘calm’ on eve of election

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Nov 03, 2020 - 03:35 AM

PHILADELPHIA — The mayor of Philadelphia appealed for “patience” and “calm” on the eve of Tuesday’s presidential election in the largest city in Pennsylvania, a state which could be decisive in the White House race.

Jim Kenney reassured voters the election would be free and fair despite claims by President Donald Trump there could be potential voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

Trump won Pennsylvania by just 44,000 votes in 2016 over Hillary Clinton and a victory in the Keystone State is seen as crucial to his reelection hopes.

Kenney, in an open letter, promised a fair and accurate count of both in-person and mail-in ballots.

“We expect long lines at the polls,” he said. “So on Election Day, please be patient.

“Stay calm, stay respectful,” the city’s Democratic mayor told its 1.5 million residents.

Pennsylvania does not begin opening and counting mail-in ballots until Election Day and record numbers of Americans have voted by mail this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“After the polls close, and in the ensuing days, we will continue to need your patience,” Kenney said. “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,” he said. “That means getting a tally of mail-in ballots will easily take several days.”

Trump and Democrat Joe Biden have devoted considerable time and resources in Pennsylvania during the final days of the campaign.

Philadelphia, which has a population that is 40 percent African-American, was rocked by street protests last week after police shot dead a Black man, 27-year-old Walter Wallace.

A curfew was imposed for two days following an outbreak of looting and National Guard troops were deployed to help maintain order.

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