After two years and $7 million in wasted taxpayer-funded advertising costs and legal fees, Pennsylvania's embarrassing and discriminatory voter-ID law has finally been buried by a wise court ruling.
But like a gambler caught up in a losing streak, Gov. Corbett can't bring himself to just walk away. Instead, he sends mixed signals. He said Thursday that he won't appeal the Commonwealth Court ruling in January, which is good. But, apparently to appease his radical-right buddies, he also said he wants to retool the law.
Fortunately, Harrisburg Republicans have an election to worry about and are in no mood to revive this modern cousin of the poll taxes once used to discourage certain people from voting.
Corbett is running for reelection, too. Yet he refuses to make a clean break from a law written to solve a problem that doesn't exist. No one has been able to cite a single case of identity theft at the polls in Pennsylvania.
The law requires voters to show poll workers a driver's license or other state-recognized photo identification. Democrats argued that the law would suppress turnout among nondrivers and other likely Democrats, including the poor, young, and elderly in urban settings, as well as residents of rural areas who might have trouble getting to state ID centers.
During the lengthy court battle, people testified that they were given misinformation about obtaining IDs. The state added to voters' confusion when it changed what sort of ID was required and which documents would be needed to get it.
The law's proponents insisted that they wanted to prevent voter impersonation. But when pressed for proof of this fraud, the state could not deliver.
Pennsylvania never needed this law. Voters already have to prove their identities when registering to vote or at the request of a poll worker when voting for the first time in a new place.