Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections
383 U.S. 663 (1966)
- Harper tried to register to
vote in Virginia, but the Elections Board required her to pay a poll
- The poll tax was $1.50 and the money went to pay for
- Harper didn't have the money
to pay, so she sued, claiming that the poll tax was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal
Protection Clause of the 14th
- Harper argued that the poll
tax unconstitutionally stopped the
poor from voting.
- In addition, the 24th
Amendment specifically prohibited poll
taxes, but was only applicable to Federal elections. Harper
was suing over a State election.
- The Trial Court found for the
Election Board. Harper appealed.
- The US Supreme Court reversed
and found the poll tax to be unconstitutional.
- The US Supreme Court found
that poll taxes were a violation
of the Equal Protection Clause.
- "A State violates the Equal
Protection Clause whenever it makes
the affluence of the voter or payment of any fee an electoral standard.
Voter qualifications have no relation to wealth."
- Because voting is considered
to be a fundamental right, the
Court applied a strict scrutiny review.
- This decision also effectively
incorporated the 24th Amendment into the States.