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Engineered election does not bring voters to polls
A social engineered election championed by the American Civil Liberties Union failed miserably in the St. Louis area this week.
In Missouri’s hot spot of Ferguson, a hotly-contested race for the school board there was reengineered last year to give minority voters a greater voice in local election.
With an 80 percent minority enrollment in the school district, whites remain a majority on the school board.
Voter turnout plain and simple.
So the ACLU sued in court and the court agreed to a somewhat unique idea.
In this year’s election, there were three candidates running for two open seats. Minority voters — through this new court plan — were allowed to cast both of their votes for one candidate.
That would give minority voters a better chance of electing minority school board members.
But turnout among minority voters was small and voters reelected the white school board member along with a new minority member. The ACLU had hoped that the new voting scheme would favor both minority candidates because of the weighed voting system.
Refusing to accept that minority turnout was to blame, backers said they had not “marketed” the election as they should have.
The fact is that social engineering rarely works. It may look good on paper but in practical application, it fails more often than not.
One school official had it right.
“Cumulative voting (the ACLU plan) isn’t going to fix people not coming out to the polls.”
Candidates at all levels from local to national all face the same challenge when it comes to minority votes. Polls may indeed show 90 percent favorable attitudes among some minority groups but those polls are useless unless those voters actually vote.
And despite massive campaigns on the national level to increase minority turnout, most of those efforts have been less than successful.
Math shows that you may be favored by 90 percent of certain groups but if those groups turnout to vote at around 15 percent, the outcome is all too often the same.
And finally, here’s one message that always evades the ACLU.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the white school board candidate in Ferguson was actually seen as the best candidate regardless of color, and therefore attracted the most votes.
Now that obviously does not fit the ACLU agenda, but it may be the reality for voters in Ferguson.