Today in Legal History: Poll Tax Abolished

On January 23, 1964, South Dakota ratified the 24th Amendment, abolishing the use of the poll tax as a requirement to vote in federal elections.  The 24th Amendment was the work of Senator Spessard L. Holland of Florida, who took up the cause in 1949.  Poll taxes were a discriminatory means of preventing newly enfranchised African Americans from voting by requiring voters to pay a fee to cast a ballot.  The fees were set high enough to keep poor African Americans from voting, but not high enough to be a hardship on middle class and affluent whites.

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