Poll Tax Law and Legal Definition

A poll tax is a uniformed tax levied on every adult in the community. Poll taxes have their roots in ancient tax systems and have been criticized as an unfair burden on the poor. Historically, in the U.S., they were enacted in south as a prerequisite for voting disfranchising many African Americans and poor whites.

The 24th Amendment to the U.S. constitution ratified in 1964 that made it illegal for a state to use payment to all taxes as a requirement to vote in the national elections. Few blacks could vote because they had a little money. The poll tax to vote was $1.50. A woman decided to take the poll tax issue to court. In Oct.1965, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Evelyn T. Butts' appeal. In 1966 the Supreme Court of the United States declared Poll Taxes unconstitutional.