Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: November 7, 1966

585
Statement by the President Calling Upon Citizens To Vote in the Forthcoming Elections.
November 7, 1966

My fellow Americans: Tomorrow we vote.

The long months of campaigning are over. The hour of decision has arrived.

This fall issues have been debated which bear deeply on the quality of life in America—on where we are, and where we want to go.

Personalities have been examined. Records have been studied. Charges and countercharges have been made. On television, in the press, on signboards, on street corners, and in smoky hotel ballrooms the candidates have presented their case.

Tomorrow—in every State in the Union-the polls will open. You—the citizens of America—will deliver your verdict.

In some States you will choose your Governor and State legislature and one of your United States Senators. In every State you will choose your Congressmen.

What has all the fanfare—all the charges and countercharges, all the slogans and serious talk—amounted to?

On Wednesday, when the results are in and the winners have celebrated and the losers have conceded, the issues will remain. We will still face the great questions of war and peace, of providing a better life for our people, of caring for those in need. We will not have provided any final answers to those questions when we vote on Tuesday.

What we will have done is decide who will try to answer those questions in the name of the people.

We will have entrusted to some men, and denied to other men, the authority and responsibility for the conduct of our public business.

The citizens of a democracy have no graver task than this—nor any prouder right.

Generations ago, Americans were willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to secure the vote. In our own time men have marched and prayed and sung to win it and exercise it—often at great risk to themselves.

It is precious—and powerful. It is our protection against tyranny and bad government. It is the instrument of peaceful change. It is the way we express our views on the most important questions we face as a people.

But it is not self-exercising. The right to vote is only an abstraction if it is not used. The man and woman who stay at home tomorrow will have the right to vote—but they will not have a part in choosing who shall lead them in the next few years. The wisest man who does not vote has less control over his destiny than one who, though he may lack understanding, does go to the polls.

Tomorrow we vote. The issues are important and complex. The choice of good men is critical. I urge you, my fellow Americans, to use the right that men have died for—and that is your own voice in the future of your country. Tomorrow—vote.

NOTE: The statement was released at San Antonio, Texas.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "585 Statement by the President Calling Upon Citizens to Vote in the Forthcoming Elections.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466 Original Sources, accessed April 24, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNCDXERAMHKE2X.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "585 Statement by the President Calling Upon Citizens to Vote in the Forthcoming Elections." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466, Original Sources. 24 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNCDXERAMHKE2X.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '585 Statement by the President Calling Upon Citizens to Vote in the Forthcoming Elections.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466. Original Sources, retrieved 24 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CPNCDXERAMHKE2X.