Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23: 24th Amendment Ratified

On this date in History ... 1964:

The 24th Amendment is ratified, preventing Congress or the states from making the right to vote contingent upon paying a poll tax or any other kind of tax.

Poll Tax Receipt.  Source:
Poll taxes were a tool used by the South to prevent African Americans from voting after Reconstruction.  The practice was even deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1937 case of Breedlove v. Suttles.

With the passage of the 24th amendment, poll taxes were now unconstitutional in federal elections, but it was not until 1966 in Harper v Virginia Board of Elections that the Supreme Court ruled poll taxes unconstitutional for state elections as a violation of the equal right clause of the 14th amendment.

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