Voting in the United States has changed over time. In the beginning, the vote was limited to property owners. That requirement was loosened and voting was extended to citizens that could pay a tax, known as a poll tax. By the middle of the 19th century, the vote was extended to nearly all white men with little use of a poll tax. Enfranchisement was again widened with the Fifteenth Amendment, in which African-American men gained the right to vote. It was then that the poll tax had a rebirth, along with other disenfranchising practices. In 1964, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment banned the poll tax in federal elections. The Supreme Court would extend the ban into state and local elections.
The text of this amendment begins, “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 poll tax or other tax.”
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© Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek
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