In the wake of national controversy surrounding Pennsylvania's stringent voter-identification requirements, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett called for a public referendum on the voter ID law, the constitutionality of which is currently under review by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The referendum would have empowered state residents to vote "yes" or "no" to "One Real Voter, One Real Vote" amendment to the state's constitution.
The adoption of such an amendment would, of course, have eliminated the need for a court ruling on the matter. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the voter ID law and the proposed referendum "a brilliant and courageous step toward protecting the essential freedoms of white, upper-middle class men everywhere."
The law would particularly benefit Romney himself. Political analysts predict that if the law is upheld, the voter ID requirements will effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered voters who would likely have voted for Obama, resulting in a Pennsylvania victory for Romney in the November election.
"Really," remarked Romney, "why should a group of liberal, legally trained, thinking judges off in some courtroom somewhere decide this issue? This is a matter for voters to decide for themselves."
And many might arguably have agreed. However, Governor Corbett's plan to sidestep judicial review of the voter ID law through the referendum contained, as Pennsylvania House Majority Leader and voter ID proponent Mike Turzai, put it, "one tiny glitch."
The "glitch": there aren't enough people in Pennsylvania with the requisite government-issued ID to even vote in Governor Corbett's proposed referendum.
"It left us in a bit of a bind," admitted the abashed Governor, who signed the voter ID bill into law. "But we stand by our voter-ID law. Pennsylvania is willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate voting fraud. Even if that means eliminating voting entirely."
When asked to comment on the failure of the proposed referendum, Romney turned pensive, even philosophical.
"It's like that age-old question, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? If there's an election and no one can vote...well, you see what I'm saying."
Yes, Mitt. We do.