READY AS WE’LL EVER BE
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
November 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm
I enjoyed this and I hope it is a happy voting day for you.
Sharp Little Pencil
November 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm
It was… different. The “machines” are actually pieces of paper which people with Parkinson’s, etc. would find very frustrating, because one must fill in an exact circle in a gel pen, or else the vote doesn’t register. Also, one person running unopposed was so lame, I wrote in “ficus tree” for my candidate!! So I guess it was fun! Amy
May 25, 2012 at 4:19 am
This poem is reminiscent of the movie Man of the Year starring Robin Williams. Beyond all of the funny stuff in the movie there was an overriding theme: Voting machines can make mistakes easily. All the better to rig elections. Let’s hope this does not happen in a few days. Brett
Sharp Little Pencil
May 28, 2012 at 2:21 am
Amen, brother, but don’t hold your breath. These Diebolt machines are easily hackable… yet Diebolt makes every ATM in the country, and those aren’t hackable, are they? Hmmmm… remember when Diebolt promised GWB in 2004 he’d “deliver Ohio”? There were more Bush votes in some counties than there were RESIDENTS.
August 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm
Excellent poem. I shot a short video documentary in Beaverton, Oregon that covered voting issues. Part of it was about the electronic Diebold machines. Pretty sketchy reasoning behind their use. Wonder how they’ll play out next time.