Monday, April 6, 2009

The Poll Tax in Arkansas

Arkansas adopted the poll tax in 1892 requiring all males twenty-one years and older to pay $1 to register to vote. Failure to pay this tax resulted in the voter being stricken from the list and unable to vote in any election.

Although this first amendment was overturned by the courts, a second was passed in 1908 limiting the voting rights of Arkansas’s poor, especially the African-American population.

Below is an example of a poll tax receipt from Batesville, Arkansas in 1932. The poll tax was not repealed until the adoption of Amendment 51, Arkansas’s voter registration amendment in 1964.

This item can be found in MSS 07-52, Barnett Brothers Mercantile Company Business Records. This collection is still in processing and is currently unavailable to researchers.


Anonymous,  November 20, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

I have been looking at microfilm of old Arkansas County tax records from the 1850's to 1870's. What is the "Poll tax" that was collected back then from every male at least twenty-one and under the age of sixty?

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