Throwback Thursday: Jan. 23 a good day to ratify constitutional amendment

in Uncategorized by

Today, January 23, is a good day to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Especially ones about elections.

On this day in 1933, the 20th Amendment was ratified by Missouri, the 38th state to do so, satisfying the requirement that three-fourths of the then-48 states do so. Florida, for its part, was the last state to do so on April 26, 1933, as an unnecessary but symbolic move.

The 20th Amendment, dubbed the “Lame Duck” amendment, moved presidential and congressional inaugurations from March to January. Doing so shortened the period of time between the election of federal officials and their taking office.

Then, on January 23, 1964, the 24th Amendment was ratified when South Dakota became the 38th state to do so. This amendment eliminated the poll tax in federal elections. Poll taxes were imposed in states after Reconstruction in attempt to prevent African Americans from voting — measures that had been held constitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1937 decision on Breedlove v. Suttles.

Florida was the 31st state to ratify the 24th Amendment on April 18, 1963. Nine states have yet to approve it.