There are lots of us busy elves working away in Santa’s workshop.

– Ann Coulter to reporter Michael Isikoff in 1997, explaining her inside knowledge of the legal strategy behind Paula Jones’s lawsuit against President Bill Clinton

How do you know it’s the last week before a presidential election?  No, it’s not just the ads (which have been going full blast for awhile), the crowds, or the unveiling of “closing arguments.”  It when you start hearing about things like this:

A small fraction of Ohio voters’ absentee ballot requests may have been mistakenly rejected due to a recently discovered glitch in the transfer of change-of-address records.

Even though the deadline for voters to register or change their address was three weeks ago, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted just this week sent about 33,000 updated registration records to local elections officials.

Or this:

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned.

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

Or this:

On Wednesday, [Catholic bishop Daniel Jenky of Illinois] came within a hair of ordering every priest under his supervision to campaign for Mitt Romney.

In a letter, Jenky told the priests in his diocese “[b]y virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.” The letter leaves little doubt that Jenky wants Obama out of the White House…

Or this:

Mitt Romney’s campaign has been training poll watchers in Wisconsin with highly misleading — and sometimes downright false — information about voters’ rights.

Documents from a recent Romney poll watcher training obtained by ThinkProgress contain several misleading or untrue claims about the rights of Wisconsin voters.

Granted, this stuff has probably been going on forever, but when it paid off in 2000, you can be sure it redoubled the GOP’s determination to leave no dirty trick untried.

But look at the bright side!  By next week, we’ll be able to stop talking about how awful the election has been… and, regardless of who wins, start talking about how awful the next four years are going to be.

Have a great weekend, everybody!