FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Fort Wayne-Allen County NAACP held re-elections Saturday afternoon with the oversight of state level members. These elections, which have sparked controversy among members, were a re-do of elections held in November.
On November 15, the standing president of two years, Paulette Nellems, was re-elected. However, Rev. Michael Latham, a lifetime member of the NAACP, accused Nellems of not running those elections properly, and he took his complaint to the national NAACP.
"There was a couple things that weren't done right," Latham said. "The process wasn't even started right. People didn't get notified when the election was going to be."
After Latham's complaint, the state NAACP was to monitor Saturday's election, but members had the same issues with how it was being run.
"Most of the membership did not get notification that there was going to be an election, that is the ultimate illegitimate thing that you can do, is disenfranchising voters," Nellems said.
Likewise, Carlton Lynch, who was a candidate for vice president but withdrew said, "The letter just came to my mailbox today, the day of the election, and I think it's totally wrong."
The state president of the NAACP, Barbara Bowlling told NewsChannel 15 the organization has a "very involved procedure on conducting elections...it's very easy to miss a step." Bowlling said the only mistake made in the November election was that the branch elected people to the Election Supervisory Committee whose membership was not 30 days old, which is a requirement.
Nellems resigned as president Christmas Eve. She said her and her members did follow procedures and that she was disrespected by members on the national level.
"I believe in what's right, and to see this that this is an illegitimate election, and to see it coming from an organization that's fighting justice and injustice and inequalities, it hurts my heart," Nellems said.
The NAACP holds elections every two years. Out of the 20 branches in Indiana, Bowlling said they only run into problems every so often.
Newly elected Executive Board
President: Saharra Bledsoe
First Vice President: Laleta McClure
Secretary: Erma Belt
Assistant Secretary: Jackie Redd
Treasurer: William Crowley
Assistant Treasurer: Tonya Ashford
Members also elected 24 people to the Executive Committee at Large.
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