Voting Rights Victories 1964

Poll taxes—fees charged to exercise the right to vote—in national elections were abolished by the 24th Amendment in 1964. In 1965, The Voting Rights Act directed the Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections and required oversight of states where voting rights abuses were most prevalent. By the end of 1965, over 250,000 new black voters had registered. By 1971 there were 13 black members of the United States House of Representatives and 1 black member of the Senate—more than twice that of 1965.

The act was immediately challenged in the courts. The Supreme Court issued several important decisions upholding the legislation. In 2013, the Court struck down a key provision of the act involving federal oversight of voting rules in nine states.