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

Suppression tactics included gerrymandering districts, shutting down polling locations, purging voters from the rolls, and creating poll taxes in the form of voter ID laws. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 The same attitudes that rationalized blackface rationalized poll taxes, lynchings, and segregation — issues that have shaped black life in America to this day. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Megyn Kelly’s initial defense of blackface ignored the practice’s deeply racist history," 24 Oct. 2018 In 1846, during his time at Walden Pond, Thoreau spent the night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax, in opposition to slavery and the Mexican-American War. Kelly Scott Franklin, WSJ, "‘The Road to Walden’ Review: Peripatetic Ponderings," 12 July 2018 Or pass a voter ID law that one federal judge compared to a poll tax. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "The Supreme Court Continues to Chip Away at Protections for Minority Voters," 25 June 2018 For civil rights groups, the new restrictions and efforts call back to the days of poll taxes, literacy tests, and other rules that were imposed to block minorities from voting until the Voting Rights Act effectively banned such laws. German Lopez, Vox, "With the Supreme Court’s ruling, other states plan to follow Ohio’s lead on voter purges.," 11 June 2018 In the April election, anyone who was sending a ballot back through the mail had to include a first-class stamp, which led to some criticism that the city effectively had a poll tax. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Election cost doubles as Anchorage turns to vote by mail," 28 Apr. 2018 One protest quilt has, stapled to it, the actual paper receipt for the last poll tax paid by the quilter’s grandmother in the early 1960s – remnant of a barrier to voting for generations of blacks in the South. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Auto worker's black-history quilt memorializes 5,000 souls lost to lynch mobs in U.S.," 12 Feb. 2018 Those textbooks didn’t mention slave uprisings, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, poll taxes, separate but equal, redlining, or white privilege. Harold Jackson, Philly.com, "Black History Month is a failure | Harold Jackson," 16 Feb. 2018

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

The first known use of poll tax was in 1692

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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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to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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