Modern Day Poll Tax

Article in the Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy discusses the disproportionate impact and legal history of required payment of fees and fines before voting rights restoration.

June 3, 2007

Despite expanded suffrage, a large segment of the American public is still barred from the political process because of felony convictions, resulting in the disenfranchisement of 5.3 million American citizens. Particularly, these laws disproportionately affect low-income and minority citizens. In eight state, individuals are further disenfranchised when they are required to pay all the fees, fines, court costs, restitution, and other legal financial obligations associated with a conviction before regaining the right to vote, resulting in a de facto permanent disenfranchisement of countless individuals who cannot pay. This is a modern incarnation of a poll tax.

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