Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is supposed to issue a ruling by tomorrow on Pennsylvania's Keystone Cops attempt to enact a voter ID law in time to affect the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Simpson hasn't been called upon by the state Supreme Court to rule on the law's constitutionality; the higher court danced through that aspect in its own chamber. Instead, Simpson was charged with deciding whether the law was being implemented in a manner that satisfies the Constitution's guaranteed that anyone eligible to vote is able to do so.
To that end, on the last day of testimony last week, Simpson suggested he might just allow anyone to vote, even without a valid voter ID, but anyone without one could only cast a provisional vote. The local election board would then be responsible for making sure that person is, indeed, eligible to cast a ballot. Only then would the vote be counted.
Simpson appears to be continuing the administration's almost laughable attempt to salvage a bill that was rushed through the Republican-controlled legislature with little regard to how it would be implemented.
The result has been a summer season in which the administration has appeared to say to the appellate courts: "Hey, we're going to try this," and then, "Hey, we're going to try this," and then, "Hey, we're going to try this," a comedy played out the way slapstick was portrayed with hand-cranked cameras.
Rather than produce a reform of the voter laws to address what many believe is a non-existent problem anyway, the state has given us a muddle.
Simpson's ruling, if it resembles his hint last week, will simply complete that muddle, just in time for the polls to open a month from now.
It is not Pennsylvania's finest hour, but it has been entertaining. Mack Sennett would be proud.