The 24th Amendment becomes reality

We flew to Sioux Falls and I met with Nils Boe in his office.  He understood the seriousness of the problem.  He said he had no axe to grind against ratification of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would provide the right to vote for millions of Americans who had been systematically denied that privilege by racist laws like the poll tax.

Mr. Boe was, however, concerned that suspension of the rules was a rare thing.  Indeed it is a complicated, rare thing, but that’s perhaps a story for another day.  Boe asked me, “Where will the Young Republicans be in the primary for Governor next June?”   A bitter battle had been shaping up between Mr. Boe and former Governor Sigurd Anderson.

As it happens, I was Statewide Chairman of the Young Republicans, so I ventured to say that we were a powerful group and that as Young Republicans we would probably favor the younger candidate, which just happened to be Mr. Boe.   I told him that we also felt that Mr. Anderson had already had two terms in the Governor’s office and it seemed that Anderson was overly concerned with having public power.

With that, Nils pulled out his calendar and said that he would agree to a suspension of the rules at 4 p.m. on the following Thursday, very near the end of the Legislative Session.

I called my friend on the American Jewish Committee and told him that the Constitution of the United States would have a 24th Amendment on 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, 1964.   And it did.

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