IN PRECEDING CHAPTERS, the poll tax has been examined as to its origins, its forms, its administration, its relation to political corruption, and its disfranchising effects. The remainder of this study is devoted to the movement to repeal the tax. This movement, especially the attempt to enact a national anti-poll tax bill, focused public attention upon the tax. Out of it came charges and counter charges about the tax and its political effects. Since the repeal movement has played so important a role in the recent history of the southern poll tax, the following chapters will consider this movement: (1) in those states where the tax has been abolished; (2) in those states retaining it as a suffrage requirement; and (3) in the national government.
Poll tax repeal attracted little attention in the southern state where the tax was first removed as a voting requirement. When the voters of North Carolina decided in 1920 to abolish the tax, they did not vote separately on this question. Five amendments were presented, three in one group and two in another. Poll tax repeal was grouped with an amendment reducing the residence requirements for voting. The other amendments pertained to taxation; the most important one authorized an income tax. Although the two amendments applicable to the suffrage were separated from the strictly tax amendments, all amendments tended to be considered together. They were debated throughout the state but discussion was confined primarily to the merits or demerits of the income tax amendment.