poll tax


Definition of poll tax

: a tax of a fixed amount per person levied on adults and often linked to the right to vote

Examples of poll tax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their lawsuit claims that denying the right to vote to those who can’t afford to pay fees, fines and restitution amounts to a poll tax, which violates the U.S. Constitution. Washington Post, "Florida high court hears arguments on felon voting rights," 6 Nov. 2019 Dahmer was a farmer and NAACP leader who was killed when Ku Klux Klan members firebombed his home after Klansmen learned residents could pay their poll taxes at the Dahmer family grocery store next to their home. USA TODAY, "Eel-powered tree, skateboard safety, red light on herring: News from around our 50 states," 5 Dec. 2019 Schemes such as poll taxes and literacy tests would keep many blacks from voting until they were outlawed by the 24th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama Bicentennial: 200 years of political scandals and scrapes," 4 Dec. 2019 The amendment’s backers sued, arguing that the new law amounted to a poll tax, which is unconstitutional. The Economist, "More of Florida’s former felons may finally get to vote," 24 Oct. 2019 But critics say the laws are just modern incarnations of poll taxes, designed to suppress the African American vote. Joseph Williams, The New Republic, "Want to Vote? Pay Up.," 24 Oct. 2019 Or in March, 1990, when some of the worst rioting in modern British history swept through central London, as thousands of citizens protested the new poll tax. James Wood, The New Yorker, "It’s Still Mrs. Thatcher’s Britain," 25 Nov. 2019 There are a lot of felons in Florida who could use the money to pay that state's new poll tax. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Elizabeth Warren Takes a Turn in the Hot Seat at Democratic Debate," 16 Oct. 2019 Or take the British government team that introduced the poll tax in 1989-90, a disastrous policy that led to riots in Trafalgar Square. The Economist, "In praise of dissenters," 10 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poll tax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of poll tax

1692, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for poll tax

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The first known use of poll tax was in 1692

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Statistics for poll tax

Last Updated

3 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Poll tax.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poll%20tax. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for poll tax

poll tax


English Language Learners Definition of poll tax

: a tax that each adult has to pay in order to vote in an election

poll tax

\ ˈpōl- \

Legal Definition of poll tax

: a tax of a fixed amount per person levied on adults

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More from Merriam-Webster on poll tax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with poll tax

Britannica English: Translation of poll tax for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about poll tax

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