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Voters at the Voting Booths, ca. 1945
Voters at the voting booths in 1945

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The 24th Amendment Ended the Poll Tax
January 23, 1964

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 poll tax?"
"Mr. Trout" to Mr. Pike, interviewer, Atlanta, Georgia. American Life Histories, 1936 - 1940.

More than 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 secured.

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