Posted by Claire Daviss on January 07, 2015Earlier this week the New York Times published an editorial on the state of voting rights in Ferguson, MO.
The editorial explained that a lawsuit filed in a Missouri federal court in mid-December points out the lack of black representation on the school board. Although Ferguson is 50% white and 47% black, only one of the seven-member board is African American. The plaintiffs of the lawsuit argue that this has led to a lack of attentiveness to the needs of black students.
To resolve the lack of representation, the New York Times argues that Ferguson ought to abandon the at-large voting system and replace it with another system. The New York Times proposes that Ferguson consider voting systems such as cumulative voting or ranked-choice voting, citing FairVote's explanation of these systems.
FairVote fellows Amaris Montes and Zack Avre has previously written about the problem of under-representation of minority populations in Ferguson, MO, publishing an analysis of Ferguson voter turnout in the online magazine In These Times. They explain that alternative voting systems, such as ranked choice voting, "would give voters real choice and opportunities to win fair representation addressing the disillusionment and disconnection that contributes to low and inequitable turnout."
FairVote will continue to provide analysis on the potential for alternative voting systems to improve democratic governments.