Voter suppression claimed in upcoming N.C. NAACP electionsBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / September 30, 2022
Saying that the national NAACP is “at a time of crisis,” Justice Coalition USA, a group of concerned NAACP members who have spoken out about what they see as the alleged mismanagement of the national civil rights organization by its current President/CEO Derrick Johnson, is warning that the votes of many rural elderly NAACP members will be suppressed in upcoming November branch elections because they cannot afford the cost of internet service to cast them.
“We believe the NAACP’s staff’s decision to force all NAACP voters to participate through electronic voting for their officers in November 2022 elections, constitutes a breach of membership contracts, a violation of Article IX of the bylaws, and will cause irreparable harm to the many of the organization’s most vulnerable members,” a press release from Justice Coalition USA states.Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr., NAACP Life member and leader of Justice Coalition USA, continued, “You can buy an NAACP membership for $30, but to exercise your NAACP Vote, you need to buy a computer and a wifi connection for $300.”
Rev. Brown has been an outspoken critic of the October 2021 state Executive Committee elections where the “Election Buddy” system was instituted without warning, forcing two elections on the same day, and resulting in the ouster of then N.C. NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. Voters in the morning that day did not use Election Buddy, and Rev. Brown alleges that their votes were subsequently thrown out.
“The 2021 N.C. NAACP State election was conducted under the supervision of the National organization and violated the very bylaws and rules established by the national organization,” the press statement charges.
“The Justice Coalition USA will not stand idly by while NAACP members’ votes are suppressed through another NAACP election cycle,” it continued. “The NAACP is in a time of crisis, we need all hands on deck to push back against the barriers established by National to suppress the vote of our most vulnerable members, and resist the dismantling of the mission and constitution of the 1909 NAACP.Rev. Brown also raised concern about a recent story in the Raleigh News & Observer/Charlotte Observer newspapers, which at first falsely alleged that the N.C. NAACP had its federal tax-exempt status revoked because the state conference had not filed a return for the past three years due to alleged internal conflicts.
It was later reported that no NAACP conference or branch in the nation had actually filed a federal tax return because of a March 2020 agreement between Derrick Johnson and the Internal Revenue Service to allow all NAACP units to be counted in the national organization’s group federal tax return.
“We call on the NAACP /CEO to disclose the nature of the tax status modifications he made when he set up the NAACP Empowerment Program, Inc. (501) (c)(3) New York Corporation and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. (501) (c)(4) Delaware Corporation,” said Rev. Brown. “We have asked for an electronic meeting about these issues with CEO Derrick Johnson. We await his response.”
Brown contends that most NAACP members are unaware that Johnson created NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc. in 2019, making it a 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation, and shifting all NAACP units under that parent organization, even though NAACP units are 501(c)(4), which are not tax deductible to donors.