ACLU sues Ferguson school district because black voters aren’t electing black candidates

Perpetually outraged social justice warriors are still hard at work in Ferguson, Missouri.

Voting rights lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Ferguson-Florissant school district’s use of an “at-large” voting system, alleging that not enough blacks were being voted into office.

On Wednesday, the school district filed new documents urging the judge to drop the lawsuit, arguing that the district was not engaged in any sort of scheme to keep minorities from holding office.

Although African Americans make up roughly 77 percent of the students in the district, only one of the seven members of the school board was black when the case was filed last year. Since then, one additional black member has been elected.

The ACLU claims the at-large voting system – where all candidates are elected by the entire district rather than small geographical areas – is to blame for the low number of minority members, according to MSNBC.

Traditionally, such an argument is made in at-large elections where minority groups are outnumbered by white voters. But according to the argument filed in court on Wednesday, blacks are actually the majority of voters in the area — giving them a theoretical advantage in local elections.

According to MSNBC, the primary reason for the discrepancy appears to be that the area’s black community has significantly lower voter turnout than white neighborhoods within the district.

This has encouraged the ACLU to argue for the election system to be altered in such a way that more minorities end up on the ballot, regardless of a specific demographic’s voter turnout.

“This lawsuit is a positive step toward addressing racial inequities in our education system that will affect not only Ferguson, but all of Missouri,” the ACLU argued in a press release from December, announcing the lawsuit.

Their primary suggestion is to do away with the at-large system, and allow for carefully constructed districts that cater to individual demographic groups. They are also suggesting that the elections no longer be held in April – a time when “marginalized voters” tend to be less inclined to show up at the ballot box.

In other words, the ACLU is suing because blacks in the district aren’t showing up to vote for black candidates.

Maybe the ACLU should take up the issue with the black community, not the representatives who were elected to office by citizens who actually decided to show up to the voting booth.


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