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Voter registration jumps by 30 percent in Ferguson after Michael Brown shooting

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Voter registration in Ferguson, Missouri, has jumped nearly 30 percent since Aug. 9, when the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white officer triggered calls for a more racially representative city government, an election official said on Thursday.

Nearly 3,300 Ferguson residents registered to vote between Aug. 9 and Sept. 30, in time for the Nov. 4 election, said Rita Days, director at elections at the St. Louis County Board of Elections.

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That is about two-thirds of the total new voter registrations in the county of one million people during that period, she said. Ferguson has about 21,000 residents.

The shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by officer Darren Wilson on a Ferguson street triggered days of protests and calls for justice. It also drew attention to the racial makeup of Ferguson compared to its city government.

About two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, but its mayor and five of six council members are white. At the time of the shooting, police came under criticism for having only three black officers on its 53-member force.

Records are not kept on the race of voters in Ferguson, but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups have made efforts to get more blacks to register. Three seats on the city council in Ferguson are up for election in April.

John Gaskin III, spokesman for the NAACP of St. Louis County, said the boost in Ferguson voter registration can be a significant step toward bringing policy changes to that community and beyond. But registration is only helpful to a point, he said.

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“They need to lift their voices and vote,” Gaskin said.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Sandra Maler)

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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New Trump rules give his own golf courses freedoms to pollute Florida — and 6 other states

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President Donald Trump's golf courses could end up polluting streams and wetlands under a new rule by his administration.

"The Trump administration on Thursday will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens," The New York Times reported Wednesday.

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