The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.
Poll taxes appeared in southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent African Americans from voting, and had been held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles. At the time of this amendment’s passage, five states still retained a poll tax: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The amendment made the poll tax unconstitutional in regards to federal elections. However, it was not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) that poll taxes for state elections were unconstitutional because they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
With new year comes new obstacle to voting in Texas
12/31/14 08:06 AM By Zachary Roth – msnbc
Texas has among the lowest rates of voter participation in the country. And, starting midnight Wednesday, those looking to change that will face yet another obstacle.
To register voters in the Lone Star State, you have to be certified by your county—a process that includes attending a training session. And at the start of every odd-numbered year—that is, this Thursday morning—those certifications expire, meaning anyone who wants to continue to do voter registration must go through the time-consuming training process again.
That requirement, combined with other strict rules governing registration imposed in recent years, adds an enormous hurdle for groups conducting registration drives.
“No other state requires volunteers to jump through these hoops, just to register voters,” said Jenn Brown, the executive director of Battleground Texas, a Democratic group that’s working to register and mobilize new voters in the state. The restrictions, Brown added, “seem designed to keep eligible voters away from the polls.”
To understand just what those hoops are, you have to consider the full range of requirements the state imposes on those simply looking to help their fellow citizens register and vote.
Since the 1980s, Texas has required anyone registering voters be certified as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR), and be re-certified every two years. After the passage of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which aimed to make registration easier, many states dropped those certification requirements as inconsistent with the spirit of the federal law. Texas didn’t.
Then in 2011, the state made the process even trickier. First, Republican lawmakers passed new rules barring non-Texas residents from doing voter registration, which made it harder for outside groups to come into the state and run registration drives. They also added a training requirement to the VDR certification process, and imposed criminal penalties for any group that pays registrars. This was the same legislative session in which lawmakers passed the strictest voter ID law in the country—later struck down as a poll tax by a federal judge—as well as a redistricting plan that was found by a court to have intentionally discriminated against Hispanics.
US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)
US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)