The Slatest

Two Black Candidates Elected to City Council as Voter Turnout Doubles in Ferguson

Ferguson City Hall in November 2014 after a grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown; the windows are boarded as a precaution against vandalism.

Joshua Lott/Getty

The election of candidates Ella Jones and Wesley Bell to the Ferguson, Missouri, City Council on Tuesday has increased the number of council seats held by black representatives, in a city that’s 67 percent black, from one out of six to three out of six. (The city’s white mayor, James Knowles, also votes on council decisions.) Voter turnout was 30 percent, up from 12 percent in the city’s last municipal election in 2013.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that two activist-backed candidates failed to win election, one falling to a white former mayor and the other to Bell, who is a lawyer, a community college criminal justice professor, and a municipal court judge in nearby Velda City. (Bell’s involvement with the area’s controversial municipal court system became an issue in his campaign, though he does not seem to have ever been accused of abusing his position.)

The City Council will be responsible for hiring a new city manager and a new chief of police; the men who held those positions resigned in March.