Why are the residents of Ferguson, Missouri—a majority of whom are black—represented by a local government that is almost entirely white? This question has preoccupied a few scholars and journalists since last week.
On Friday, Brian Schaffner, Wouter Van Erve, and Ray LaRaja wrote an interesting post at the Monkey Cage that looked at these disparities and suggested that it was largely due to two factors:
1) the timing of local elections (Ferguson’s city council elections are held in April of odd-numbered years),
and 2) the non-partisan nature of local elections there.
Both of these factors tend to depress turnout substantially, and seem to depress turnout disproportionately among African Americans.