More than 3,000 people have registered to vote in Ferguson, Mo., since the death of Michael Brown — a surge in interest that may mean the city of 21,000 people is ready for a change. Since a white police officer shot the unarmed black 18-year-old on Aug. 9, 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. The city’s population is two-thirds African American; five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor. The St. Louis County Election Board does not record the races of eligible voters, but many believe the increase is a sign that Brown’s death has spurred renewed interest in politics and might mean more blacks will vote in the upcoming election. “It’s a great move when people come out and register in mass like that,” said Anthony Bell, St. Louis 3rd Ward committeeman. “They are sending a signal that we want a change. It doesn’t give justice to the Michael Brown family, but it will in the future give justice to how the administration is run in a local municipality like Ferguson.”
The biggest issue on the Nov. 4 ballot will be the race for county executive of St. Louis County between Republican State Rep. Rick Stream and County Councilman Steve Stenger, a Democrat. Three Ferguson city council seats will be up for grabs in April.
Bell began registering people two days after Brown was shot. He was at Canfield Green Apartments shortly after the teen was killed and watched as his body lay in the street for hours. The experience motivated him to lead a protest the next day and start registering people. He started with a clipboard and later set up a booth a few blocks from the shooting scene.
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.
Full Article: Voter registration in Ferguson surges after Brown killing.