« AnteriorContinuar »
CHANGES IN POLL TAX REQUIREMENTS IN CERTAIN STATES DURING THE PAST
(By Mollie Z. Margolin, legislative attorney, American Law Division, Library
of Congress) As of this date five States still require the payment of a poll tax as a prerequisite for voting : Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia. However, in recent years these States have made some liberal changes in their laws regarding such poll tax. Alabama (Unless otherwise designated, references are to code of Alabama, 1940,
recompiled 1958) 1940.-As the law existed in 1940, a poll tax payment of $1.50 was required of every person over the age of 21 years and under the age of 45 years, who was not exempted by law from paying same (Title 51, § 237; Constitution, § 194).
Exemptions.—The following persons were exempted from paying a poll tax :
1. All persons permanently and totally disabled from following any substantially gainful occupation with reasonable regularity, and whose taxable property does not exceed $500 (Title 51, § 238).
2. Veterans who served honorably in the military or naval service of the United States between January 1, 1917, and November 11, 1918, from all poll taxes which have accrued or may hereafter accrue (Title 51, § 238; Amendment 14 to Constitution).
3. Every officer and enlisted man of the national guard or naval militia of Alabama, during his active membership and forever, after he has actively served an aggregate of 21 years (Title 51, § 238; Title 35, § 11).
Elections.—To entitle a person, otherwise qualified, to vote at any election, he shall have paid on or before the first day of February next preceding the date of the election at which he offers to vote, all poll taxes due from him for the year 1901 and for each subsequent year (Constitution, $ 178).
Since the poll tax is $1.50 per year, a person who had not voted before and wished to yote in 1940 could conceivably have to pay a tax as high as $36 for 39 years would have elapsed since 1901 and in that period a person could have become 21 years old and already passed his 45th birthday, a period of 24 years. Of course $36 would be the maximum that could possibly be required of anyone. The fact remains, however, that anyone offering to vote at an election would have to make up his back poll tax of $1.50 for each year since he attained the age of 21 even though he had not voted before.
1944.—In 1944 the exemption of veterans from the poll tax requirement (of taxes which have accrued or may thereafter accrue) was extended to cover all persons who served honorably in the military service of the United States at any time, past, present, or future, when the United States was, is, or shall be at war with a foreign state (Amendment 49 to the Constitution).
1945.-In 1945, exemption from the poll tax requirement was extended to every officer and enlisted man of the Alabama state guard during his active membership, and forever, after he has actively served an aggregate of 21 years (Title 35, $ 214).
1951.-In 1951, the exemption of veterans from the poll tax requirement (of taxes which have accrued or may thereafter accrue) was extended to veterans who served honorably in the military services of the United States when the United States is engaged in hostilities whether as a result of declared war or not (Amendment 90 to the Constitution).
1953.-In 1953, an amendment to the Constitution was approved requiring, as a prerequisite for voting, the payment of poll taxes for the 2 years preceding the election. Thus the maximum requirement at any election could only be $3 (Amendment 96 to the Constitution).
1954.-In 1954 a constitutional amendment exempted blind and deaf persons from the payment of poll taxes (Amendment 109 to the Constitution). 70784—62-pt. 5- -3
1960.-As of today, $1.50 poll tax payment is required as a prerequisite for voting. The maximum such requirement, including arrears, is a payment of $3, Exempted from payment of poll tax, including arrears, are all veterans who served honorably in the military service of the United States whenever the United States is engaged in hostilities whether as a result of declared war or not. Also. exempted from payment of poll tax are blind and deaf persons, all persons permanently and totally disabled from following any substantially gainful occupation and whose taxable property does not exceed $500, and every officer and enlisted man in the service of the national guard, the naval militia, or the Alabama state guard during his active membership, and forever, after he has actively served an aggregate of 21 years. Arkansas (Unless otherwise designated, references are to Arkansas Statutes,
1947, Ann., 1956 Replacement and to 1957 Supplement thereto) 1940.-As the law existed in 1940, a poll tax payment of $1 was required of every person as a prerequisite for voting, except of those who reached the age of 21 after the period of assessment (Const. Art. 3 g 1; as amended by Amendment No. 8; Ark. Rev. Stats. $ 3–103, since then repealed and superseded by 3–104.2 ; $ 3–123).
1941.-In 1941, a law was enacted prohibiting the collecting of penalties for delinquent poll tax assessments (S$ 3–110.3–111).
1943.—In 1943 a law was enacted permitting men and women discharged from the armed services after the period for poll tax assessment has expired, to pay the $1 tax without the additional penalty (1957 Supp. 3–113).
1944.-In 1944 Arkansas adopted a constitutional amendment permitting members of the armed services, if otherwise qualified, to vote in any election without having paid a poll tax (Amendment No. 36 to the Constitution).
1960.-As the law exists today, a poll tax payment of $1 is required as a prerequisite for voting, but members of the Armed Forces of the United States, while in service, are exempted from this requirement. A person who has become 21 years old after the assessment may vote that year without paying the poll tax. Mississippi (Unless otherwise designated references are to Mississippi Code, 1942,
Recomp. 1956, and to 1938 Supplement) 1940.-In 1940, as a prerequisite for voting, a person was required to pay on or before February 1 of that election year poll taxes due for the 2 preceding years (Const. § 241 ; Code $ 3160). The poll tax is $2 per year (Const. § 243).
Exempted from this poll tax requirement are persons over 60 years old, persons who are deaf, dumb, or blind, or who are maimed by loss of hand or foot (Const. § 243; Code $ 3163).
1944.—In 1944 Mississippi repealed the poll tax requirement for persons in the armed services, and allowed them to vote by absentee ballot without payment of such poll tax ($ 3196–07).
1952.-In 1952, a law was enacted permitting any member of the Armed Forces or any honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces to vote at any election without payment of any poll taxes which they have not had the opportunity to pay (§ 3163-02).
1960.—Today the law is the same as it was in 1940 but includes the exemptions. enacted in 1952. Texas
1940.-As the law existed in 1940 and as it exists today, the payment of a poll tax paid before February 1 of the year, is a prerequisite for voting (Const. Art. 6. $ 2; Election Code Arts. 5.02, 5.09).
All officers and men of the active militia of the State are exempted from payment of this poll tax except the poll tax prescribed for support of publicschools (Ann. Statutes, Art. 5840).
The poll tax required is $1.75 of which $1 goes to the support of the schools (Const. Art. 6 § 2, Interpretive Commentary).
1945.-Article 6, § 2a of the Constitution was adopted in 1945 which waived the poll tax of any citizen of Texas who within 18 months prior to election has served in the Armed Forces (including the maritime service and merchant marine). It applied “during the time the United States is engaged in firuhting a war or within one year after the close of the calendar year in which said war is, terminated."
1954.-On November 2, 1954, Article 6, § 2a, above, was repealed.
Exemptions 1951.--As the law read in 1951, the following persons were exempted from payment of poll tax: Persons over 60 years old, Indians not taxed, persons insane, blind, deaf or dumb, those who have lost a hand or foot, those permanently disabled, and all disabled veterans of foreign wars, where such disability is 40 percent or more (Election Code 1952, Art. 5.09).
1959.-Art, 5.09 of the Election Code was amended, omitting deaf or dumb persons from the above exemption (Election Code, 1960 Supp. Art. 5.09). Virginia
1940.—As the law provided in 1940, and as it is in effect today, a person, as a prerequisite for voting shall pay, at least 6 months before election his State poll taxes assessed against him during the 3 years next preceding the year of the election at which he offers to vote (Constitution $ 21 ; Code of Virginia, 1958 Supp. § 24-120).
Exempted from this requirement are persons who served in the Army or Navy of the United States or the Confederate States during the War Between the States, and the wife or widow of such person (Constitution § 22), and those pensioned by the State for military services (Constitution § 173).
The amount of the tax is $1.50 per annum (Code of 1950, $ 58–49).
1944,- In 1944 Virginia created the "Armed Services Poll Tax Fund" to be drawn upon for paying a poll tax for an individual in the armed services who applies for such payment at least 6 months before election. The Act expired on July 1, 1946 (Laws, 1944, Ch. 287).
POLL TAXES AS LEVIED IN NEW ENGLAND STATES
(By Norman J. Small, legislative attorney, American Law Division, Library
Upon whom levied.--Males, whether citizens or aliens who are inhabitants of the state who are above the age of 21 years (Rev. Stat. (Supp. 1955), ch. 91-A, $2).
Exemptions.--(1) No person shall be considered an inhabitant of a place on account of residing there as a student in an educational institution. (2) Indians, blind persons, and persons under guardianship. (3) Persons in active service in the armed forces. (4) Persons aged 70 and over; persons who are veterans of World Wars I and II and the Korean War; and persons who by reason of age, infirmity, or poverty are in the judgment of assessors unable to contribute toward the public charges. (5) Veterans of the Civil War; veterans receiving a state pension; veterans of the Indian and Spanish Wars; veterans of the Philippine insurrection; disabled veterans of World Wars I and II (Rev. Stat. (Supp. 1955), ch. 91A, $ 10 (iii, IV).
Rate.-$3.00 ((Supp. 1955), ch. 91A, $2).
Payment a prerequisite.-Payment is a prerequisite to: (1) granting of a motor vehicle operator's license and registration of a motor vehicle; (2) issuance of a resident hunting or fishing license (Rev. Stat. (1954), ch. 22, $$ 15. 61 : ch. 37, § 39 (viii Supp. 1955), ch. 91A, $2).
Collection.--The tax is collected principally by local officers from each taxable person in the place where he is an inhabitant on April 1 in each year. With certain exceptions, proceeds of this tax are paid into the state treasury. Remedies for collection include the imposition of interest and the levy by distress and sale upon the real and personal property of the delinquent as well as arrest of the latter. Delinquent taxes also may be sued for in an action of debt against the party liable (Rev. Stat. (1954), ch. 5, $$ 60, 64; ch. 16, $ 104; (Supp. 1957), ch. 91A, $8 27–34, 37-41, 47-48, 56–58, 63–64, 67, 69–70, 74–76, 81–82, 98–104, 107-108).