By Brad Matthews | Watchdog.org
The ACLU and NAACP announced a lawsuit Thursday morning against the Ferguson-Florissant School District, on allegations that the use of at-large elections prevent black candidates from getting elected in a district where the majority of students are black. Blacks are a minority among the area’s voting population.
In a strategy successfully used in other parts of the country like California, the organizations are trying to instead switch elections to a localized system wherein elections would be based on a ward or sub-district.
At-large elections, which draw from all wards, apparently make it more difficult for black candidates to get elected to the school board. This new proposal would have seats based in the wards and sub-districts, making it easier for black candidates to get elected by the members of their specific community.
This dispute is, rightly or wrongly, colored by the Michael Brown case, which has acted as a catalyst for nationwide protests dealing with police brutality and the racial situation of the country as a whole. The backlash to that case has shined a spotlight into the area’s local government, and it should be expected that similar scrutiny will be applied to this case as well.