STATEMENT BY MAX KENNEDY
Today Rock the Vote is at Virginia Tech to shine a spotlight on a flagrant and offensive attempt made last month to scare Virginia college students away from registering to vote.
Voting rights violations are nothing new in our country – sadly, we have long history of targeting groups of people based on their race, socioeconomic status, or gender in attempts to keep them from registering and voting.
In the 1960s, politicians used police dogs and bloodshed; today, they use lies and threats and trickery, packaged in refined legalese. The tactics may appear less crude, but the aim is just as criminal and sinister. The most important right we have as Americans is the right to vote.
My father managed President Kennedy’s run for the Presidency. He helped force integration in Mississippi and Alabama. He led the committee which advised the President during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And he fought hard to end the war in Vietnam.
But Robert Kennedy felt strongly, that the most important thing he did in his entire work life, was to fight for a little known set of Supreme Court decisions which established once and for all, the principle of One Man, One Vote. Robert Kennedy understood that the key to changing the United States was to use the political system-the power of the ballot to force change.
Voting Registrars in Montgomery County, Virginia, often the agents of the powers that for too long controlled this country have a long history of stopping young people from voting. Most of these kinds of methods were outlawed by the 1965 Civil Rights Act. But
now there are new ways to intimidate those of us who want change.
Now, the registrar here in Montgomery County has threatened to revoke the scholarships of any students who attempt to register to vote here. They want to stop you from forcing them to change. This election is the most important election in two generations. Do Not Be Intimidated. No matter who you vote for, go and vote. Take your roommate to get registered. Bring your sports teams in to register. Have your whole floor, your whole dorm register. Show them that you will not be intimidated, you will not be coerced, you will not bow down to their threats and bullying. Call everyone you know and get them to vote, but above all, you, yourself, each of you here, come to the desk at this bus, and register to vote.
Then Rock The Vote!