Using specious or even completely nonexistent evidence to allege that Republicans are suppressing the vote is longtime liberal tradition. The Nation’s Ben Adler offered up a classic example on the liberal magazine’s website this afternoon:
Virginia Democrats are worried that long lines at polling places in key Virginia counties may discourage voters and cause them to go home without voting. Since this morning, there have been reports of long lines and waits of up to two hours in large Democratic-leaning counties immediately outside D.C., such as Arlington, and key swing counties to Arlington’s south such as Prince William. Virginia election officials say there are long lines throughout the state due to high turnout.
In response, the state Democratic Party sent a letter at 3:30 pm to the Virginia state board of elections requesting that voters be allowed to vote by paper ballot. Those ballots could then be handed out to people on line, rather than requiring everyone to wait to go individually into a polling booth, thus speeding up the process. Democrats worry that voters will give up on voting after waiting for over an hour. And voters who do so—anyone who has to go to work, for example—are more likely to be Democrats. (Retirees vote mostly Republican, whereas low-wage hourly workers vote mostly Democratic.)
This is, as Joe Biden would say, complete malarkey. Note that Adler has no evidence – none whatsoever – beyond the simple fact that lines are long. I was one of those Arlington voters and I waited for more than three hours to vote today. Why? Because the line to vote was long. Why was the line long? Because a lot of people showed up to vote.
The election officials were courteous and helpful and quite efficient. Nobody did anything to slow the vote. It just took the officials a long time because of the heavy turnout. How exactly massive turnout in a Democratic-leaning district (the local congressman is Jim Moran) is a GOP plot is something Adler does not explain.
Elsewhere in the posting, Adler does casually claim that “GOP poll watchers” have “deliberately exacerbated” the lines. The sole authority for this he cites is Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. No doubt he is completely objective. In any event not a single one of these nefarious GOP poll watchers was anywhere in evidence where I was waiting. Their presence was not needed to make the wait three hours long. Massive turnout did that on its own.