Observers, new council members optimistic in Ferguson -

Observers, new council members optimistic in Ferguson

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Ferguson City Hall Ferguson City Hall

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A surge of voters helped alter the racial makeup of the Ferguson City Council, and observers say the change creates a new energy in the community following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

More than 29 percent of Ferguson voters — double the percentage from the April 2014 election — went to the polls Tuesday and elected three new council members, including two blacks. That means half of the six-member council will now be African-American.

The lone black incumbent councilman was not up for re-election. The mayor is white.

The percentage of elected blacks still falls short of the St. Louis suburb's racial makeup — two-thirds of Ferguson's 21,000 residents are black. Still, to residents and observers, it's a new start.

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