January 20, 2016 Practice Points

Twenty-Four and No More Poll Taxes

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1964.

By Access to Justice Committee

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1964. It states:

Section 1. 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.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Several states had imposed poll taxes to evade the Fifteenth Amendment, which provides, in part, “[t]he right . . . to vote shall not be denied or abridged . . . on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In ceremonies celebrating the ratification, President Lyndon Baines Johnson stated that “[n]othing is so valuable as liberty, and nothing is so necessary to liberty as the freedom to vote without bans or barriers. . . . There can be no one too poor to vote.” Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks upon Witnessing the Certification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution (Feb. 4, 1964).

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