NAACP election will be monitored

NAACP election will be monitored
December 18
00:00 2014

Branch leaders will be picked on Jan. 10

(pictured above:  A sign posted at headquarters on Nov. 18.)

A N.C. NAACP official will oversee the elections of the Winston-Salem Branch on Saturday, Jan. 10.
Local members were to elect a new president and executive committee on Tuesday, Nov. 18, but the voting was abruptly called off. At the time, Chapter President S. Wayne Patterson said he initiated the postponement of the election until a state official could oversee the vote so that he could not be “accused of rigging it.”

Patterson elaborated this week about the delay. He said names of candidates were submitted after the nomination process was closed. Protocol calls for each person running for an office to have been a dues-paying member prior to April 15 of the election year. Patterson said that some people paid their membership dues in August, making them ineligible to seek office.

S. Wayne Patterson and Isaac "Ike" Howard

S. Wayne Patterson and Isaac “Ike” Howard

“There were several people who did that who were running for different offices,” he said. “They submitted their names, and pursuant to the NAACP constitution they weren’t eligible to have their name placed on the ballot because it was submitted too late.”

He said those running for offices had to submit their names, verbally and in writing, to the nomination committee before their Oct. 28 meeting. An individual could have also been nominated from the floor prior to the nomination process being closed at the meeting.

“This chance was given three times, and no one was nominated. When everything was finalized and closed was when someone was nominated,” said Patterson, who would not name the members he feels flouted the nomination process.

Issac “Ike” Howard, who is challenging Patterson for the presidency, said he is not bothered by the postponement.

“It’s fine, I guess, if there are any type of concerns,” he said.

He does believe not enough was done to inform members and the community that the election was delayed.
“A lot of people didn’t know the elections had been rescheduled because a lot of people are asking how did (the elections) go. At that point I have to explain to them that they’ve been rescheduled,” Howard said.

Patterson said that he has been told he’s “making a mountain out of a mole hill” with the delay, but he says after the controversy during the nomination process, he wants everyone to be assured that everything is above board. “I did not want anyone from the current board or the incoming board to state that we had an election where names were omitted off the ballot,” he said.

Patterson said having an observer will protect the branch’s integrity.

“I don’t want the integrity of the branch to be questioned by what could be a flawed election,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to take one for the team than have the whole organization look flawed.”

This is not the first time the state has been called in to oversee a Winston-Salem branch election. In 2004, when incumbent Stephen Hairston was being challenged by JoAnn Allen amid questions about the branch’s finances and voting methods, a N.C. NAACP official oversaw the vote. Even after Hairston was declared the winner, questions lingered about the branch’s practices.

“I did not want that to occur under my watch; therefore, being the prudent person and attorney I am, I got in touch with the state and national branch,” Patterson said.

Nomination Committee Chair Daphne Holmes-Johnson said there is nothing untoward happening at the branch and the delay was necessary.



“The only thing that is happening in this election is that we are following our bylaws and what the constitution says: If all nomination matters are not settled by October, the branch doesn’t do the elections; the state does,” she said.

She said as a member of the N.C. NAACP executive committee, she has seen election monitors called in many times.

“There are 101 branches in North Carolina, and it is not uncommon for this to happen every election cycle. There are 12 other branches doing what we are doing,” she said.

A request for comment from a state NAACP official was not fulfilled by press time.
The Winston-Salem Branch will hold a candidates’ forum on Saturday. Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. at its headquarters at 4130 Oak Ridge Drive. NAACP members in good standing can begin voting at the headquarters at 9 a.m. on Jan. 10.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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