The local NAACP president is trying to set up an illegal election for chapter officers.
Ida Alexander, president of the Sandusky chapter, sent out letters to members this week to inform them she was scheduling a meeting for Saturday morning to both nominate and elect key chapter positions including president, treasurer and secretary.
But the letters didn’t begin arriving until Wednesday — some letters still hadn’t arrived by Thursday — and many members who left town for the holidays weren’t scheduled to return by Saturday morning.
Some members said they suspect Alexander is trying to manipulate the elections so her vice president, James Alexander, can win the presidency.
The two Alexanders are not related, two members said, but Ida Alexander can no longer run because she has already served two terms as president.
Some members said they were unaware Alexander was even scheduling an election.
“I haven’t heard anything,” chapter member Joyce Brown said late Wednesday afternoon. “I have no idea. No clue.”
According to the letter, Alexander plans to nominate candidates without using a nominating committee, which violates NAACP bylaws, according to the NAACP 2008 Manual on Branch Election Procedures.
She also hopes to have an election without an election supervisory committee, which violates NAACP bylaws.
According to the election manual, each candidate gets to nominate someone to an election supervisory committee to count votes and make sure the elections are conducted fairly.
But since not all of the candidates know about the election and will likely not be there on Saturday, they won’t have a chance to nominate someone to the supervisory committee.
Finally, Alexander is supposed to give a full roster membership to the nominating committee, so the committee knows who is eligible for chapter positions.
But since there won’t be any nominating committee, Alexander will violate that bylaw as well.
In the past, she has even refused to give out membership rosters, members said. And when she relented and did give them out, they were incomplete.
Alexander said it’s not her decision to violate the bylaws.
“I’m just taking orders, I can’t say anything more than that,” she said.
When asked from whom she was taking orders, Alexander said, “I can’t say anything more,” and hung up the phone.
At the bottom of the letter Alexander sent announcing the controversial elections, the name Rev. Gill Ford is typed, without a signature.
Ford, who oversees 25 states for the national NAACP organization, was supposed to be investigating election irregularities at the Sandusky chapter at some point this winter.
But Ford is notoriously “impossible to get a hold of.”
NAACP member Jim Jackson said, “I’ve tried to get in touch with him 100 times. You just can’t do it.”
Richard Koonce, another active member of the chapter, said he’s tried to contact Ford for months and never received a response.
And the Register has tried to contact Ford on a dozen occasions since early October, also failing to reach him.
“So I doubt (Alexander) got in touch with him,” Koonce said. “When the national organization issues an order, they put it on their letterhead and notify all the members of the chapter. The letters we got are on local letterhead, not national letterhead, and the national didn’t contact anyone. So we know she’s up to something dirty.”
Neither Ford nor anyone from the national communication office could be contacted by phone Wednesday.
But Jackson, a rules specialist for the local chapter, said the state and national organizations could nullify the election results if Alexander follows through with the illegal elections.
Members said they were going to ask Ida Alexander for an extension at the meeting Saturday morning to sort everything out.
“But I’m sure she’s going to try and cram the election down our throats,” Jackson said. “I’m interested to see how she plans to circumvent all the rules. I guess we’ll see what happens.”