Americans hold dear our freedom to vote.
And rightly so.
We take for granted the ease with which
we breeze into polling places to cast ballots.
No death threats or intimidation
(except for people of color
when the majority of Anglos don’t step up
and ensure their rights, too).
And it’s been almost one hundred years
that I, a lowly woman, got the vote!

Free and fair…
until a presidential hopeful
and his golfing buddy discussed voting machines.
“I have a new-fangled computerized one.
It’ll put the mechanized ones in the museum!”
New York State had foolproof levered machines
(tallied after unsealing by all parties for certification
and carted off to the county hub intact).
No chads, no room for error.
You’d have to dump the machine in the river
to get rid of the votes!

Dieboldt: Planned obsolescence for
that which was never obsolete,
replaced by computerized gizmos,
many without paper trails,
most so vulnerable they are hackable, even by teens.

The golf partner promised the presidential hopeful,
“I’ll deliver Ohio for you.”
And that he did.
Now my beloved state has mothballed
perfectly functional, foolproof levers
in favor of “Never Say Nevers.”

We have only our lack of information and action to blame
for the shameful fact that,
although we can vote,
it is no longer guaranteed
that our vote will be counted, reflecting our choice,
or changed overnight
by interests more powerful than those of freedom.

We’re looking forward! We’re making progress!
We’re hurtling headlong into
a new golden age of fraud and abuse.
President Palin and Vice President Palidino?
That would serve us right, I suppose.

I’m going to vote today,
and pray that tomorrow –
whatever the outcome (sincerely) –
the votes were counted fairly.
But in the back of my mind,
Bush and Dieboldt practice their putting…

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
previously published at Poetic Asides and my blog