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Why Local Elections Should Matter to Black Voters

Atlanta Black Star

This gap in voter participation matters to all Americans but has a special significance for African-Americans for three reasons.

The first reason is political representation. Demos, a public policy organization that studies political inequalities, examined 438 municipalities that, demographically, would be expected to have at least one Black representative in the city government.  Of the 438 cities, they found that 175 had councils that underrepresented the African-American population. Some of the cities had Black populations as high as 77 percent, yet not a single Black representative on the city council. Although the presence of Black elected officials will not magically solve difficult issues, their absence can create problems for African-American residents if the remaining officials are not responsive to their needs and concerns, racial or otherwise.