In 1966, in a case captioned, Harper vs. Virginia Board of Elections, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s poll tax was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Under the law that was struck down, persons who were not current on the poll tax were not allowed to vote.
This case essentially applied the 24th Amendment (ratified in 1964), which provides as follows, to State elections:
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.
In other words, as a matter of constitutional law a poll tax is a law that conditions voting upon payment of some tax, fine or fee.
The Democrats and their allies such as the ACLU are claiming that HB 372 would impose a “poll tax.” Continue reading