One more reason polls don't matter: people who think they are registered to vote may not be. In Nevada, a GOP-financed firm purported to register voters, but secretly ripped up the forms submitted by people who wanted to register as Democrats.
There are dirty tricks in every election, but this is down there among the slimiest. Thousands of would-be voters may be effected. And it's not the only such story from this electoral cycle. See this voter fraud roundup and the one at Angry Bear.
The US doesn't have a great history on this subject, and I don't mean just the 2000 election. There's substantial evidence, for example, that JFK, LBJ and then-Mayor Daley stole the 1960 election by stuffing ballot boxes in Texas and rigging the vote in Chicago…mitigated only somewaht by some counter-evidence of GOP vote fraud that year. Arguably, Nixon's finest hour was taking that defeat relatively quietly; the counter-argument is he knew what skeletons were in his closet. (You know, this lot makes me miss Nixon. At least when Nixon and Kissinger committed a war crime, they had a somewhat plausible theory motivating it.)
This year, however, the reported evidence of fraud — not to mention the potential for rigging voting machines — leans very heavily one way, and suggests a pattern of voter intimidation (aimed at Blacks and Native Americans) and outright fraud that may continue on to election day.
How many fraud stories leaning the same way, in how many states, does it take before the validity of this election is so much in doubt that we need to ask if we still have a democracy in the real sense of the word?
And if we should conclude that we have failed Benjamin Franklin's test — a Republic, if you can keep it — then what do we do? The mind boggles. One wants to think about something else. Novels. Getting out the vote. The new Chumbawumba CDs that arrived in the mail. Work.
Is it best not to think about it until we know the result of the election? (Even if some Republicans are already laying plans to claim, as they did with Clinton, that only Republicans can be legitimately elected?) After all, it might not be close, and blowout one way would quiet criticism, espeically if it wasn't the party in power that had access to the paperless electronic voting machines.
Or, perhaps, is it already too late in the game?