SOUTHERN METHODS of collecting the poll tax, and the attitudes toward collection, vary as widely as the amounts of the tax, the scope of liability, and other matters discussed in Chapter 2. Although in some non-southern states the poll tax is a bona fide device for raising revenue, where it is a prerequisite for voting, it is not. An examination of relevant legal provisions and of methods of collection reveals that large scale payment is not desired. The tax is nominally a revenue measure and it does provide some revenue, but primarily it restricts voting. To the extent that this purpose is achieved, the revenue aspect of the tax suffers. Payment of bona fide taxes is not only invited but, wherever possible, enforced. Payment of poll taxes by large segments of the population, on the other hand, is discouraged.
In most poll tax states, the statutory provisions concerning collection of the tax are designed to discourage, rather than encourage, its collection. The Alabama constitution provides that no legal process nor any fee or commission shall be allowed for poll tax collection. Payment is left on a voluntary basis.1 There are no penalties for delinquency. No bills are sent out, and in most places, no effort is made by the tax collector to notify the taxpayers when the tax should be paid. The tax is not collected with property taxes and no special reminders are sent out to property owners. In a few cases, when a man is____________________