Newly-Elected St. Louis County Exec Removes Only Black Member Of Election Board
January 21, 2015

You could look at this as just the spoils of war, and to the victor goes the patronage. Charlie Dooley, who appointed Rita Days, had a reputation for cronyism and incompetence. But under the recent circumstances in Ferguson (not to mention that the new county executive made an alliance with the notorious DA Bob McCullough to win), but it's incredibly tone deaf and you can't blame the black citizens of the county for being furious:

For those who believe “voting doesn’t matter” sit back and read this. Until yesterday, the only African American on the St. Louis County Board of Elections was the Director: former State Senator Rita Days. Yesterday, she was removed from the position.

Former County Executive Charlie Dooley, who is Black, had appointed Rita Days four years ago. Newly elected St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who is white and beat Dooley in a Democratic primary last August, has reportedly removed the only African American on the St. Louis County Board of Elections.

Stenger denies he removed Days. Those connected to St. Louis politics find Stenger’s denials laughable. The action happens three days after the Congressional Black Caucus visited Ferguson to emphasis the importance of voting.

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio yesterday, State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal brought perspective to the situation.

“When she [Rita Days] was put into this position many people were upset that an African American was put in a position dealing with elections. That was about four years ago. Charlie Dooley made several appointments of African Americans in important positions which was an incredible move going against tradition which in St. Louis County tradition has been defined by having brothers and uncles and sons who are put into certain positions… without opening up opportunity to women and to minorities,” Sen. Chappelle-Nadal told reporters.

“Senator Days is the only African American who has been on the Board of Elections for the last four years. The environment that we are in right now is one of distrust of state government of local government. What we are experiencing is racial chaos, There are people I have seen and represent who do not trust government whatsoever. And then there are other people like the Congressional Black Caucus saying: We gotta get out and vote,” said the African American State Senator.

She gave credit to Gov.Jay Nixon for attempting to solve the situation.

Activists are quick to point out that the political system does not work for them and that voting may not be the answer. But that Dooley lost his primary and that led to the removal of the only African American on the Board of Elections can’t be ignored.

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