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Polling Problems: Real or Spin?

On conference calls throughout the day, the McCain-Palin camp has been warning of Democratic efforts to intimidate voters, including Black Panthers allegedly scaring off Republicans in Philadelphia and GOP poll-watchers being thrown out of precincts in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

Fox News’ disputed the Black Panther report, saying that Philly’s not exactly a Republican stronghold. Talking Points Memo has an alternative account of what happened — and here’s the video the McCain campaign is distributing.

But the McCain campaign’s supposed litany of problems hasn’t pointed up any serious wrongdoing. Where poll-watchers were supposedly forced to leave precincts, judges have ordered them back in. In Virginia, where Republicans complained that military ballots were not going to be counted, a judge ordered elections officials to hold onto them past Election Day.

GOP complaints in Missouri come down to opposing Democratic calls to extend polling hours there to ease long wait times at the precincts.

Finally, the McCain camp claims that people identifying themselves as Democrats are calling Republicans in Lancaster County, Pa., and falsely telling them that their polling places have changed location. There’s no indication of how many calls have been made or if anyone has been duped by them.

To sum up: While there are some glitches — and there could be more, as I noted last night — long lines, not fraudulent voting or intimidation, are what’s hindering this election. Victory is likely to go to the party and its members who turn out in the greatest numbers — and who are the most persistent.

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