Forward to next post: Watching the election with Bruce Schneier: part two
The McCain campaign is collecting reports of “Election Day irregularities” in swing states and distributing them to reporters. I cannot help but wonder if they are preparing a case to contest the legitimacy of the election, should Obama win by a 2000-like narrow margin.The story is entirely based on this video. Fox News grabbed the story and ran with it. Conservative news outlets are playing it as “Black Panthers in full uniform are standing outside of polling places, intimidating voters.”
The irregularities include “black panthers” who are “intimidating Voters By Standing Outside Of A Polling Station While Holding A Night Stick” in Philadelphia.
Now that you’ve watched both videos: The building there is the Guild House West, a subsidized rehabilitative assisted-living facility located at 1221 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123. It’s one of three apartment buildings operated by the Friends Rehabilitation Program.* It is a polling place—I checked. And there is no earthly reason the New Black Panthers would have personnel stationed there.
Now for the really pertinent information:
The Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney says there have been no complaints about intimidation at polling places.
Next: Jacqueline Dischell, an Obama volunteer who’s been monitoring that polling place since 0630 this morning, says there have been no incidents of intimidation. Dischell also says that one of the two guys shown in the video is legit—an officially designated poll watcher. The guy with the nightstick, who left hours ago, is reportedly a friend of his who showed up to hang out with him. I recommend reading the rest of her account, from the multiple McCain operatives showing up to bait the two guys, to the police who showed up to check it out leaving without getting out of their car.
As minimal factchecking would have established, there is no basis for reporting this voter intimidation story as fact.* The interpretation being retailed by Fox News is not reliable, to put it charitably.* And that has to have set some kind of speed record for the McCain campaign picking up on an internet-native story, and getting a statement about it onto their website. I expect people will be taking a closer look now at the other “Election Day irregularities” McCain’s organization is reporting.