TODAY, the United States witnesses the triumph of liberty over restriction. Today, the people of this land have abolished the poll tax as a condition to voting. By this act they have reaffirmed the simple but unbreakable theme of this Republic. Nothing is so valuable as liberty, and nothing is so necessary to liberty as the freedom to vote without bans or barriers.
Our Constitution in its 175-year lifetime has been amended but 14 times following the ratification of the Bill of Rights. A change in our Constitution is a serious event. The beneficiaries of this amendment are the people of this land.
There can now be no one too poor to vote. There is no longer a tax on his rights. The only enemy to voting that we face today is indifference. Too many of our citizens treat casually what other people in other lands are ready to die for.
Less than two-thirds of our eligible population cast ballots in the 1960 presidential election. Perhaps this specific act of firm resolve will turn negligence into interest. I pray that this is so.
I will not let this historic event pass on without paying special tribute to my old and dear friend and former colleague Senator Spessard Holland of Florida. He led this fight from the beginning. He was in the forefront in the winning.
I salute the States of South Dakota and Georgia. They raced to the wire to be the 38th and necessary State for ratification. South Dakota won that race but we are all victors. This is the first time an amendment to the Constitution has been certified in the presence of the President of the United States. I am proud that I am here. I am prouder still to place my name on this certificate.