poll tax

[pohl]
noun
a capitation tax, the payment of which is sometimes a prerequisite to exercise the right of suffrage.
Also called head tax.


Origin:
1685–95

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Collins
World English Dictionary
poll tax
 
n
1.  a tax levied per head of adult population
2.  an informal name for (the former) community charge

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

poll tax definition


A tax required as a qualification for voting. After the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution extended the vote to blacks in 1870, many southern states instituted poll taxes to prevent blacks from voting. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1964, prohibits poll taxes for federal elections.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Any fee, however indirect, that is required for one to vote is a poll tax.
All the administrative problems of a poll tax are involved.
He photographed church and labor groups organizing to do away with the poll tax.
It extended that right regardless of registration and poll tax requirements, as long as the voter met state qualifications.
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