The Poll Tax in the South

By Frederic D. Ogden | Go to book overview

8. REPEAL BY STATES--II

ATTEMPTS TO REPEAL THE POLL TAX have also been made in those states which still retain the tax requirement. The movement has been strongest in Virginia and Texas, relatively strong in Arkansas and Alabama, and weakest in Mississippi.


VIRGINIA

The voters of both Virginia and Texas rejected in November, 1949 constitutional amendments which would have removed the poll tax as a voting requirement. The question presented to them was in neither case as simple and straightforward as the proposal presented to the voters of South Carolina in 1950. Virginia voters were given a package of amendments which would have abolished the poll tax as a voting requirement, substituted annual for permanent registration, authorized literacy tests and a non-suffrage poll tax at a higher annual rate than the tax then in effect. In Texas, the poll tax repeal amendment was presented along with nine other proposals, some of them exceedingly unpopular. In addition, the Texas repeal amendment carried a proposal for annual registration and authorized the legislature to prescribe a registration fee.

The Virginia poll tax repeal movement goes back at least to 1940 when a group of liberal Virginia Democrats met and formulated a long-range campaign designed to obtain poll tax abolition and defeat of the Byrd machine. While working for increased social services, some members of this group con-

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The Poll Tax in the South
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Tables xi
  • Figures xiii
  • 1. Roots I N Th E Past 1
  • 2. the Form of the Tax 32
  • 3. Administration of Poll Tax Collection 59
  • 4. the Poll Tax and Corruption in Elections 77
  • 5. Voting: Before and After Analyses 111
  • Conclusions 137
  • 6. Voting: Interstate and Intercounty Comparisons 139
  • 7. Repeal by States--I 178
  • 8. Repeal by States--Ii 201
  • 9. Repeal by Nation 241
  • 10. Conclusions 281
  • Index 291
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