THEY MAY BE back in black for Tuesday's election - the uber-controversial New Black Panther Party.

But now with 100 percent less nightstick.

You'll recall, especially if you've ever listened to conservative talk radio, that it was right here that the Election Day 2008 appearance of two local leaders of the smallish black-power posse outside a polling station at 12th and Fairmount in North Philadelphia - one brandishing a large nightstick - became a national controversy.

Critics said it was an open-and-shut case of voter intimidation and that the U.S. Justice Department, whose probe began in the Bush administration and ended during President Obama's term, let the New Black Panthers duo off too easy.

But the national leader of the group, Malik Zulu Shabazz, told a radio interviewer in September that the New Black Panthers - labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others for its anti-white and anti-Semitic rhetoric - might be out monitoring some polling places again in 2012.

"I will say that as this election comes up in November, we will consider our options," he told WABC Radio's "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio" show. "And we will consider the fact whether we will legally and lawfully go to the polls again to make sure there is no intimidation against our people, which was our intent in 2008."

But Malik Zulu Shabazz told the interviewer, "No, sir," when asked if any poll-watchers would have nightsticks or other weapons.

The group's Philadelphia leader, King Samir Shabazz, who brandished the billy club in 2008 and was slapped with a federal injunction aimed at preventing that from happening again, claimed to the Daily News that he and fellow NBPP activist Jerry Jackson had shown up at 12th and Fairmount four years ago because of rumors that white skinheads would disrupt voting.

Will the two local activists be back there again in 2012? That's hard to say. The website where King Samir Shabazz promoted his ideology - along with a hip-hop CD - called was offline last week, and the last known phone number for his sidekick Jackson was disconnected.

But King Samir Shabazz does still have a profile on the site, where he says: "I will not bow down to white Amerikkka" and that he's interested in "casual dating, networking, and serious dating."