(SACRAMENTO) – After last week’s election, former Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams is set to be sworn in on Saturday, marking her return to the position.
Ms. Williams, currently serving as First Vice President, beat out incumbent Stephen T. Webb, in what organization officials call a “record breaking turnout” of members to vote. Webb, however, is contesting the results due to what he calls “many violations and irregularities throughout the election period” and has filed a formal appeal with the national NAACP to have the election voided.
In keeping with NAACP election bylaws, Webb, has submitted his complaint along with the signatures of 27 branch members who will support his appeal. Included in that packet, he says, are letters from people who say that election workers inside the polling place tried to nudge them into voting for Ms. Williams. He says other questionable issues took place prior to the election but impacted it.
According to Pam Haynes, Chairperson of the Elections Supervisory Committee, 300 votes were counted with 157 cast for Ms. Williams and 143 for Webb. Ms. Haynes says she has all the official paperwork from the election and is waiting to hear from national officials about what they need from her to investigate Webb’s appeal.
Webb has led the Sacramento NAACP since 2014. Ms. Williams led the organization from 2005 to 2012 when she stepped down to run for a seat on the City Council. She didn’t win that race, but returned to the NAACP to serve as its First Vice President.
Both Webb and Ms. Williams say that despite the job being an unpaid position, they’re dedicated to giving 100 percent to helping the veteran rights organization live up to its mission of ensuring political, educational, social and economic equality for all.
“I didn’t want this to happen,” said Webb, who points to work he’s done in the past two years, including decreasing debt, bolstering the local chapter’s standing in the community and improving the public’s access to organization leaders and resources.
“I’m just asking for a satisfactory end that’s just,” he continued.
Ms. Williams ran under the banner of “Bringing Our Voice Back.” She says people she talked to during her campaign expressed to her that they didn’t see the organization speaking out on controversial local issues.
“When the skinheads were at the Capitol, people said, ‘where’s the NAACP?’ When we had Black men being killed in police shootings, people said, ‘where’s the NAACP?’ The NAACP didn’t take a stance on any of that. We need to have a voice,” she said.
Should the National NAACP’s investigation find merit in Webb’s appeal, there will be a hearing. Until that impartial panel’s decision is made, the current officers would continue to function in their roles.
Should the election results be upheld, joining Ms. Williams as officers will be Jovan Agee, 1st Vice President; Aliane Murphy-Hasan, 2nd Vice President; Eric Harris, 3rd Vice President; Cynthia Brooks, Secretary; Arthur Jenkins, Assistant Secretary; Viera Johnson, Treasurer; and Joyce Askia, Assistant. Treasurer. They’ll serve a two-year term. Others voted onto the Executive Committee as members were Joe Debbs, James C. Shelby, Rory Kaufman, George D. King, Roberto McCoy, former Chapter President Dr. Nathaniel White, and Malachi Smith.
They’ll be sworn in regardless, at this weekend’s Centennial Banquet, being held at the Lion’s Gate Hotel in celebration of the organization’s 100 years of service. New officers are scheduled to take office on January 1, 2017.