Philadelphia's Republican city commissioner has no time for Trump's tsunami of fraud lies
60 Minutes/Twitter, Diana O & Larry McM/Twitter

As President Trump continues to beat the drum of fraud and cheating with no solid evidence to back it up, and as many Republicans seem hell bent on sticking with Trump to the bitter end, there are some Republicans who are putting country—and reality—before party.

One of those Republicans is Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt. He and his office are in charge of the vote count for the city, which has come under a huge microscope with Pennsylvania being the state that pushed Biden over the threshold of 270 electoral votes. Trump's team has been pushing hard to try to make Pennsylvania out to be a hotbed of corruption and illegal voting, but Schmidt says the allegations being made against Philadelphia's ballot counting have no basis in reality.



Schmidt was interviewed by 60 Minutes over the weekend, where he described the "crazy" things he's heard and how his office has been receiving death threats over it.

"From the inside looking out, it feels all very deranged," he said. "At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don't understand. It's people making accusations that we wouldn't count those votes, or people are adding fraudulent votes...just coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff."

Schmidt said they're getting "calls to our offices reminding us this is what the second amendment is for. People like us...for counting votes...in a democracy."

Despite the tsunami of misinformation floating around social media, including from the president of the United States, Schmidt is holding firm. Regardless of party or personal loyalty, truth comes first.

When CNN asked what evidence of any widespread fraud Schmidt had seen in the count in Philadelphia, he replied, "I have not. If evidence of widespread fraud—or evidence of any fraud at all—is brought to our attention, we take a look at it and we refer it to law enforcement, as we always do in every election."

"I have seen the most fantastical things on social media," Schmidt continued. "making completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact at all, and see them spread. And I realize a lot of people are happy about this election, and a lot of people are unhappy about this election. One thing I can't comprehend is how hungry people are to consume lies and to consume information that is not true."

The CNN host asked him to clarify what information was not true, to which Schmidt replied, "Just the other day I saw something that had a long list of people that they said were dead voters who voted in Philadelphia. So when we took a break between everything else that we're doing, we looked it up, each one of them, to see what their vote history was. Not a single one of them voted in Philadelphia after they died. It's one of these things that kind of bounces around out there, that echoes around, that people say from one to another they heard something, or they heard from someone who saw something that they think might have been x, y, or z. And it's really impossible to keep up with those."

Schmidt is not alone.

The international delegation of election watchers Trump invited to witness our electoral process released a preliminary report saying that they were impressed by the conduct of our elections and chastised Trump for his baseless accusations of systemic fraud. The New York Times called election officials in all 50 states to find out what evidence they had seen of widespread fraud, and guess what. All the officials they spoke to, from both parties, said that no fraud or irregularities had played a role in the outcome of the election.

Irregularities do occur in every election, and there are systems in place for catching and remedying them. And every investigation into voter fraud—including Trump's own administration's Voter Fraud Commission—has found that no evidence of widespread fraud. Any individual instances of fraud that have been found amount to a miniscule fraction of a fraction of a percent of total legitimate votes. The case for fraud just isn't there.

And the accusation isn't benign. Right now, we have a president who is not just contesting the election results, but behaving as if it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to remain in power. He's vetting appointees for a second term. He's making sweeping changes in Pentagon leadership. He's undermining Americans' faith in our electoral system, which puts the safety and stability of our nation directly in harm's way.

The peaceful transfer of power is one of the defining elements of our democracy, a vital tradition that reminds us we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. When the people have spoken at the ballot box, no matter who wins, the leaders of our government accept the result. In some elections, like Bush/Gore in 2000, results truly are so close that a challenge and recount is warranted. But we all know the legal challenges in this election aren't about a close count. With Biden's commanding lead of more than five million votes in the popular vote and winning key swing states by more than five figures, the result isn't that close.

This refusal to concede is 100% the emotional response of a malignant narcissist who is incapable of admitting defeat of any kind. It's the childish reaction of a man whose dad raised him to believe you're either a fighter or a loser, and it's not acceptable to be a loser. The fact that some prominent Republicans are coddling his delusions, feeding the misinformation machine that has led to millions of Americans not accepting an obvious result and undermining people's faith in our free and fair elections, is baffling and embarrassing, but it doesn't change the reality that Al Schmidt and other election officials keep reiterating.

Joe Biden is president-elect of the United States. And no amount of baseless allegations will change that.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."