Amendment XXIV Abolition of Poll Taxes

Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964

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 poll tax or other tax.

Section 2

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

Amendment XXIV

Abolition of Poll Taxes

By Annenberg Classroom

*Note: The Interactive Constitution is being developed over the course of the next two years. So far, Amendments 1-15 have Interactive content, and we are working on bringing you Interactive content for this Amendment. In the meanwhile, the interpretation below is supplied by the Annenberg Classroom.

Although passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments helped remove many of the discriminatory laws left over from slavery, they did not eliminate all forms of discrimination. The Twenty-Fourth Amendment, ratified on January 23, 1964, was passed to address one particular injustice that prevented numerous citizens from voting—the poll tax, that is, a state fee on voting.

Along with literacy tests and durational residency requirements, poll taxes were used to keep low-income (primarily African American) citizens from participating in elections. The Supreme Court has since struck down these discriminatory measures, opening democratic participation to all, regardless of one’s ability to pay.