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Confession: I love voting. I love the empowerment. I love the engagement. And above all, I love that I can enjoy the right with the relative ease that my ancestors probably longed for.

I routinely walk into my polling place before dawn, and am greeted by cheery volunteers. I casually show my driver’s license and voter registration card (I carry multiple forms of ID because, well, you never know) and take my pick of the voting booths. I fill in the bubbles, cast my ballot and leave. In my car. To go to work.

This 1928 poll tax receipt from Dale County, Ala.-- a prerequisite for certain groups to vote at the time-- is similar to what my great-grandfather would have received when he paid his poll tax in Coffee County, Ala. Alabama did not abolish its poll tax until 1966.

This 1928 poll tax receipt from Dale County, Ala.– a prerequisite for certain groups to vote at the time– is similar to what my great-grandfather would have received when he paid his poll tax in Coffee County, Ala. Alabama did not abolish its poll tax until 1966.

This moment is made possible by  struggle and sacrifice. Fifty years ago– if I so dared to vote — I could have been greeted by the barrel of a shotgun instead of a smile. I could have been required to show a poll tax receipt, as my great-grandfather was required to do in Coffee County, Ala.  In another time and place, it could have been my bloodstains on the path to equal voting rights.

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