In the past, at least in certain parts of the country, you had to own property to vote. I am thinking that was and still is constitutional. Would a law that says that if you do not pay Federal income taxes then you do not get to vote be constitutional?

I am thinking that it would need to be passed at the state level. Am I right about that?

Note: I am in the United States

  • 3
    No doubt such a law would disenfranchise many billionaires. Aug 20, 2021 at 17:20
  • 1
    An interesting feature of the Constitution prior to the ratification of the 17th Amendment was that a state's representation in the House, and the total amount of tax it would have to collect from its citizens and remit to the government, were both proportional to population, which in turn meant that they were proportional to each other. There is a certain logic to saying that the more money a person or entity contributes, the more influence it should have over how that money is spent.
    – supercat
    Aug 20, 2021 at 19:40
  • "You must own land" is ambiguous: how are mortgages and fractional ownership treated? How much land should you own?
    – RonJohn
    Aug 20, 2021 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


Historically there were restrictions on voting that no longer exist: being white, male or property-owner are examples. For example, the 15th amendment prohibited denying the right to vote on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; women got the right to vote under the 19th amendment; poll taxes and a requirement for paying any other tax were abolished by the 24th Amendment (this did not address state elections). In the case of property ownership, the property requirement was eliminated state-by state by 1856. Tax-payment was a requirement for a longer period, but again was abolished state-by-state.

Later, in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 SCOTUS ruled that

a state violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution whenever it makes the affluence of the voter or payment of any fee an electoral standard. Voter qualifications have no relation to wealth

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