With the end mercifully in sight for the 2016 presidential election - unless one of the candidates contests Tuesday's results - this is a good time to reinforce a few points about Philadelphia's role in picking a winner.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has repeatedly claimed that Philadelphia's voters are willing and capable of "stealing" his victory in Pennsylvania.

There is an audience for Trump's rhetoric. When this is all over, it is worth pondering why these sorts of claims resonate without evidence - that in-person voter fraud is a pervasive problem in this city.

For now, let's put a few things on the record.

Voter fraud happens. There have been nine people prosecuted for that crime in Philadelphia since 2013. That happened because poll watchers or election board members reported what they saw. The system worked.

The election is not "rigged," as Trump claims.

Trump, who often brags about being a winner, started complaining when the polls showed his lead slipping away. We've seen this from him before.

Trump said many nice things about then-Gov. Ed Rendell when he applied for a state casino license in Philadelphia in 2005. After losing that bid, Trump said that Rendell did a "lousy job" and that the process was rigged. Then he filed a lawsuit. He lost that, too.

Anecdotal stories about a problem - such as voter fraud - are not proof that the problem is pervasive. That would be like saying all presidential candidates brag about being able to sexually assault women due to their celebrity because you heard a story once about one candidate making that claim.

There are voting divisions in the city where Trump may receive no votes. That is not proof of anything but voters there not supporting him.

Trump in August revived a conspiracy theory about Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, who received no votes in 50 divisions, or 3 percent of the city's 1,686 divisions.

The Philadelphia Republicans who oversee those divisions were not at all surprised by that result.

The dead will not be streaming into polling places to vote. Al Schmidt, the lone Republican among the City Commissioners, which oversees elections in the city, said a recent report claiming to show records of dead people voting in recent elections instead demonstrated clerical errors and confusion, not actual voter fraud.

The state Election Code does not allow Trump supporters from outside Philadelphia to show up here and serve as impromptu poll watchers.

Trump has asked supporters to travel to "certain areas" such as Philadelphia on Election Day to look for voter fraud. But poll watchers must be registered to vote in the county where they serve.

A federal judge last week shot down the state Republican Party's bid to change the Election Code.

Two New Black Panther Party members, one with a nightstick, did stand in front of a polling place during the 2008 election. The police came. The guy with the stick left.

Despite a viral video of that incident, no voters ever complained about being intimidated by them.

If they show up again Tuesday, ignore them.

And, it's sad but there will be no beer and weed Election Day giveaway, despite the claims by a neo-Nazi with a history of attention-seeking behavior winning attention last week by claiming he would pass out "40s and weed" to Philadelphians who agree to not vote.

It was all a ruse. Which is sad, because we all may need a drink - or something else? - by the time this is all over.

brennac@phillynews.com

215-854-5973

@ByChrisBrennan