Voter registration jumps in Ferguson
since shooting of black resident
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[October 03, 2014]
By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY Mo. (Reuters) - Voter
registration in Ferguson, Missouri, has jumped nearly 30 percent since
Aug. 9, when the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white
officer triggered calls for a more racially representative city
government, an election official said on Thursday.
Nearly 3,300 Ferguson residents registered to vote between Aug. 9
and Sept. 30, in time for the Nov. 4 election, said Rita Days,
director at elections at the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
That is about two-thirds of the total new voter registrations in the
county of one million people during that period, she said. Ferguson
has about 21,000 residents.
The shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by officer Darren Wilson on a
Ferguson street triggered days of protests and calls for justice. It
also drew attention to the racial makeup of Ferguson compared to its
About two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, but its mayor and
five of six council members are white. At the time of the shooting,
police came under criticism for having only three black officers on
its 53-member force.
Records are not kept on the race of voters in Ferguson, but the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
and other groups have made efforts to get more blacks to register.
Three seats on the city council in Ferguson are up for election in
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John Gaskin III, spokesman for the NAACP of St. Louis County, said
the boost in Ferguson voter registration can be a significant step
toward bringing policy changes to that community and beyond. But
registration is only helpful to a point, he said.
"They need to lift their voices and vote," Gaskin said.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Mary
Wisniewski and Sandra Maler)
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