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Tricia’s Place: Poll Tax and the right to vote!

Well folks, it’s almost that time of year again to decide who we wish to choose for several of our important local offices, as well as for the office of United States President.

The right to vote is not something to be taken lightly.

In this country, we are blessed to be able to vote. As citizens of this country, we get to choose whom we wish to represent us in government.

I have already made my decision about who I will vote for! I have chosen _____.

Fooled you, didn’t I? Who I choose to vote for is my secret and who you choose is your secret and you don’t have to tell either!

I have always loved looking into history and learning about the past, especially when it came to how history impacted my family. Once as a child, I started wondering about voting and my grandfather. Thinking he voted the same as we do today, I asked my mom and her answer was a shock to me!

Mother said, “My dad never voted! There was a poll tax and poor people couldn’t afford to pay the tax, and were not allowed to vote!”

Because of this poll tax, people of color, Native Americans, and poor whites were ‘disenfranchised.’

“The persons who were placed in that category  had their rights taken away,” my mother added.

I looked up Poll Tax online at and found a wealth of  information.

The website stated that there had been poll taxes of different types since the inception of our colonies.

The tax might be attached to voting or used as a major source of government funding, such as the land tax and so on.

This tax was modified around the time of the Civil War to be associated mostly with voting.

In order to vote, a set amount of money had to be paid; for instance, in Florida the tax amount was set in 1877 to be $1.00 per year. Ultimately, the Florida Poll Tax was repealed in 1937.

This was designed to keep African-Americans, Native Americans, and poor white folk from voting, as well as women.

My grandfather and his family of eight  were sharecroppers, so $1.00 was a lot of money for them. They were classified as the “poor white folk” that the poll tax restricted.

When the right to vote was at last given to all races and economic classes by the enactment of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, I still don’t think my grandfather voted!

His Great-Great-Great Grandfather was a veteran of The Revolutionary War and had received honors for his service; His grandfather was a veteran of the Civil War in Alabama and my Grandfather was a veteran of WWI.

The Poll Tax was used to disenfranchise all the “Undesirable Folk” by the wealthy. The people who were considered ‘undesirable’ included not only low-income people of color, but also dirt-poor, white sharecroppers like my grandfather.

I suppose my grandfather never had the feeling one has when they vote, or walk away from the polls with an “I VOTED” sticker on one’s shirt, accompanied by a feeling of “Yes,  I do matter. Yes, my vote does count, and I am proud!”

My friends, I hope you all will vote – as yes, you do matter, and so does our country!

Voting is a noble act!
Patriotic and proud!

 Until we talk again, be kind to one another and be safe!
Patricia Ann Hinson Mordes