Voting Rights In Arkansas: The 1960s

Feb 8, 2012

The 1960s witnessed a revolution in voting rights in Arkansas. In 1964, Amendment Twenty-Four to the U.S. Constitution outlawed the use of the poll tax in federal elections.

In 1965, Arkansas abolished the poll tax as a requirement for voting and introduced a permanent personal voter registration system. This required a free, one-off registration to vote that in most cases lasted a lifetime. Qualifying to vote became much easier and the number of African American and white electors rose rapidly.

In 1967, Winthrop Rockefeller became the first Republican governor of Arkansas in ninety-four years. Rockefeller, with the help of civil rights organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, successfully helped to register and mobilize new African American voters. African American votes provided the winning margin over Rockefeller’s staunch segregationist Democrat opponent Jim Johnson.