The 24th Amendment Ended the Poll Tax
Imagine that you are finally old enough to
vote in your first election. But, do you have enough money?
Money, to vote? Not long ago, citizens in some states had to pay
a fee to vote in a national election. This fee was called a poll
tax. On January 23, 1964, the United States ratified the 24th
Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting any poll tax in
elections for federal officials.
Many Southern states
adopted a poll tax in the late 1800s. This meant that even
though the 15th Amendment gave former slaves the right to vote,
many poor people, both blacks and whites, did not have enough
money to vote.
"Do you know I've never voted in my life,
never been able to exercise my right as a citizen because of the
"Mr. Trout" to Mr. Pike, interviewer, Atlanta,
Georgia. American Life Histories, 1936 - 1940.
20 years after "Mr. Trout" spoke those words, the poll tax was
abolished. At the ceremony in 1964 formalizing the 24th
Amendment, President Lyndon Johnson noted that: "There can be no
one too poor to vote." Thanks to the 24th Amendment, the right
of all U.S. citizens to freely cast their votes has been