Change Is Coming: Ferguson Sees Huge Surge In Voter Registration Since Michael Brown’s Death



USA Today reported on Thursday that the town of Ferguson has seen a huge surge in voter registration since the August 9th death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Less than two months after Ferguson police officer shot the unarmed black teenager six times, the community of roughly 21,000 has seen over 3,000 people register to vote. Overall, St. Louis County is reporting that 4,839 have registered to vote since August 9th — 3,287 of those people live in Ferguson.

In the aftermath of the tragic killing of Brown, both established and new organizations have taken the opportunity to help affect positive change in the community.  There have been concentrated efforts on a daily basis to reach out to members of the community and not only register them to vote, but to also educate, mobilize and energize residents when it comes to the political process within their city, county and state. This is seen as especially important due to the fact that while two-thirds of the city’s population is black, the mayor, over 90% of the police force and five of the city council’s six members are white. The town’s seven-person school board has no black members.

Brown’s death and the subsequent reaction by police to protests, have helped energize the black residents of Ferguson to get more involved in the political machinations of the city. It has helped them realize that some of the change they are desperately seeking can occur at the voting booth. If they want to stop the apartheid-like atmosphere in their city and county, they need to utilize the tools available to them and mobilize against the old guard.

Ferguson has become sort of a ground zero for activism and community organization in the past few weeks. A number of offices and organizations have been set up since the protests began in August. Antonio French, a St. Louis city alderman, opened an office on W. Florissant Road that houses his new organization, HealSTL. The organization uses volunteers to set up voter registration tables throughout Ferguson on a daily basis. It also has a website that provides a portal to the state to register to vote online. HealSTL also sells t-shirts and uses the proceeds to help the community.

A voter registration table set up by HealSTL.
A voter registration table set up by HealSTL.

However, it isn’t just HealSTL doing work in the community. Other grassroots organizations, mostly comprising of young activists from the greater St. Louis area, have popped up and are working with the young residents to motivate and educate them regarding the political process and the power of civil disobedience. Groups like Justice Core STL, Hands Up United, Operation Help or Hush, Lost Voices and Millennial Activists are on the ground daily in Ferguson and doing their best to get the word out. (I have spoken with Kayla Reed of Justice Core STL on multiple occasions. You can check out video interviews here and here.) Older organizations like Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and Organization for Black Struggle have found new energy and are using their established connections to help organize activities in the community and abroad.

The protests continue on in Ferguson. While the mainstream media has largely moved its attention elsewhere, activists and demonstrators make their voices heard every day and night. Next weekend, a large event is planned in and around Ferguson known as Ferguson October (AKA A Weekend of Resistance). Local organizations are calling on people from around the nation to gather in Ferguson from October 10th through 13th to march and let their voices be heard regarding the epidemic of police violence against unarmed blacks. The weekend will consist not just of marches, but also planned gatherings and panels where there will be discussions regarding a number of issues.


6 Replies to “Change Is Coming: Ferguson Sees Huge Surge In Voter Registration Since Michael Brown’s Death”

  1. I’m guessing that in the more minority areas the registrations will be 99%Democrat and in the more “Caucasian” areas it will be Repub. and Independent.

  2. not only is there a surge in ferguson, there is a surge nationwide for democrats. the conservatives and republicans are freaking out and running scared. this is how we take our streets back, our towns back, our cities back, our states back, and our goddamn country back!!!! register and vote on November 4th for deomocrats. it is way past time that we purge our local, state, and federal government of all republicans and all conservatives. we will take this country back from the rightwing loonies, racists, bigots, sexists, and intolerants. judgment day is coming for the right and the republicans. you cannot preach 6 years of pure hatred for every body not exactly like them. karma is a bitch and righties and their republican and tea party leaders are about to reap what they have sown for the past 6 years. WE MUST VOTE FOR DEMS ON NOVEMBER 4th. yes, it can be that simple. register, vote, change the country on November 4th. lets all send a loud, clear, unmistakable message to the republicans…

  3. I am not surprise. They have had enough, and the Brown killing was the last straw. They have the power, and they know know it. Time to be heard. Watch it, though. The GOP will try something, you know they will.

  4. I’m glad so many are registering to vote and I hope that on voting day, they get to the polls and cast their votes.

    Everyone who can vote, should vote. We need to make sure that we are not giving up the most essential right we have in a democracy.

    We need to speak loud and clear. If we don’t, nothing will ever change.

    I encourage everyone to check with your friends, family, neighbors, etc., and try to convince them to vote in the mid-term elections. If they need rides to the polls, I hope all who can will be willing to help them get there.

    There have been many important elections in the past, but I see no election as being more important than these mid-terms.

  5. Tragic that it took murders of our youths by the local law enforcers as well as corruption in the grand jury to bring this surge.

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