1964 January 23

The Federal Poll Tax Is Abolished

 

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment, abolishing the federal poll tax, was finally ratified on this day. It was not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, on March 24, 1966, that poll taxes in state elections were declared unconstitutional; in that case, the Court ruled that they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The 24th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

Learn more about the history of the right to vote: Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in America (2009)

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