Spike in Ferguson voter registration misreported by over 3,000

Only 128 new voters registered in the county

Published October 9, 2014 2:20PM (EDT)

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In the wake of the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. this August, protesters and civil rights organizers rejoiced to learn that the St. Louis County Board of Elections was reporting that almost 3,300 Ferguson residents had registered to vote as of Sept. 30, in time for midterm elections.

That estimate was off. By a lot.

Reuters reports:

But election commissioners ran the wrong report, said Laura Swinford, spokeswoman for the Missouri Secretary of State's Office. There were in fact just 128 newly registered voters in the St. Louis suburb after the shooting through Monday, Swinford said in an email...

Ferguson has about 21,000 residents. Wednesday is the deadline to register to vote, Swinford said.

According to Rita Days, the county's election director, the mistaken figure was came from checking the wrong database--the original search included all residents who had changed their voter registration in some way, such as a new address.

"We have looked at it by hand and now we have the right numbers," Days said.

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By Joanna Rothkopf

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Ferguson Midterm Elections Overestimation Voter Registration