San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today to mark the 50th anniversary of the 24th amendment to the Constitution, which eliminated the poll tax:
“Fifty years ago, the United States removed an unjust obstacle standing in the way of equality, a roadblock on the path to civil rights, a shameful measure denying millions of Americans the most fundamental right in our democratic system – the right to vote. Indeed, eliminating the poll tax bent the arc of moral history just a little bit farther toward justice and opened the doors of our democracy a little bit wider to all of our citizens.
“The enactment and ratification of the 24th amendment was the result of decades of struggle to overcome the forces of history and secure access to the polls for African Americans and all voters. Yet, half-a-century later, that struggle is far from over; that fight marches on.
“Today, it remains our task to strengthen voting rights and remove impediments to the voting booth; to pass bipartisan legislation introduced last week to update the Voting Rights Act; to work with the President to modernize our registration system, expand early voting, reduce wait times and increase access at polling places. It is our duty and our responsibility to uphold and advance the spirit of the 24th amendment – and of all those who fought and died for the cause of civil rights – to make the dream of equality a reality for every American.”