A Pennsylvania decision on voter ID begs the question Republican lawmakers have been asking for years: Why wait until after the election to skew the results?
When the United States Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush on the night of December 11, 2000, by means of a partisan 5-4 ruling so constitutionally dubious that even the five conservative justices who endorsed it urged that it never again be cited as precedent, there were really only two main directions in which America could have headed in fixing its state election laws, the failings of which were laid bare by the Florida recount.
Remembering all those poor, confused ladies in Palm Beach County who mistakenly voted for Patrick Buchanan, state legislators around the country could have made it easier for Americans to accurately cast their vote. Or, conversely, still stinging from the tangible proof of the flaws and impurities inherent in every state's election procedures, state lawmakers around the country could have made it more difficult for Americans to accurately cast their vote.
The first scenario would have acknowledged that the injury caused by thousands of valid votes not being counted is far worse than the injury caused by a few invalid votes being counted. The second scenario would have acknowledged the opposite. The first scenario is a concept familiar to anyone who knows anything about our criminal justice systems -- better to let 100 guilty men go free than convict an innocent man. The second scenario is rooted in the twisted logic of the Constitution's Three-Fifths Compromise.