Update, Oct. 7, 2014: The St. Louis county elections board has retracted the information it released about the number of Ferguson residents who have registered to vote after Michael Brown’s death, and now says that only 128 people have done so, not 3,287. The director of elections told a USA Today reporter she was “flabbergasted” by what she described as a straightforward mistake.
Original post, Oct. 2, 2014: In the wake of Michael Brown’s death, a point that has often been raised about Ferguson, Missouri is that its population is majority black but its power structure is not: the city’s mayor, city manager, police chief, and five of its six city council members are white. Low voter turnout among black voters has been cited among the reasons for the disparity, but that may be a thing of the past: 3,000 of the city’s 21,000-some residents have registered since Brown was killed. From USA Today:
Voter registration booths and cards have popped up alongside protests in the city and surrounding neighborhoods. The result: 4,839 people in St. Louis County have registered to vote since the shooting; 3,287 of them live in Ferguson…
Rita Days, St. Louis County director of elections, said her office has been fielding calls from individuals and groups asking how to register people to vote. The NAACP, League of Women Voters, sororities and fraternities have taken classes. Others have picked up handfuls of registration cards to encourage people to mail in their registrations.
The involvement of activists and protestors in the push to sign up voters would suggest that many of the newly registered were motivated by Brown’s death and the events that followed. The city’s next municipal elections will be held in April 2015.