IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington NAACP’s branch officer election is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in Greater New Point Baptist Church on Paine Avenue.
“It’s this Thursday,” confirmed outgoing Irvington NAACP President Merrick Harris on Tuesday, Oct. 30. “The meeting starts at 7 p.m.”
Harris previously went on the record to describe the inner workings of the local civil rights group’s internal leadership-selection process.
“At our Nov. 1 meeting, we have our election for branch officers,” said Harris on Sunday, Sept. 23. “You must be branch member, as of April 2018, in order to participate in the election or run for an office. You have to submit a request for what office you want to be considered. If you renewed your membership online and did not pick Irvington as your branch, you would be an at large member of the national office. You would not be eligible to run for an office in the Irvington branch.”
Harris reiterated he wanted to set the record straight about the requirements to run for elected office in the Irvington NAACP, in order to avoid the confusion resulting from the last branch election in 2014, when some members who were ineligible to either vote or run for office did participate in an election, which then had to be voided and redone after ineligible members won. However, since they were ineligible to either run or vote in that election, the results did not count and another round of elections was held, in accordance with NAACP guidelines.
This was small consolation for the branch members who thought they had won the first election, including Irvington Board of Education member Ron Brown and his supporters, who believed that he should won the chapter presidency in 2014, not Harris. Four years ago Brown and his supporters contended that he should be the new Irvington NAACP president because he had won the first presidential election to replace outgoing President Kathleen Witcher. However, it later came to light that those who nominated Brown were not members of the local branch.
Harris said, “In order to be qualified to be nominated for any executive position in the NAACP, you needed to be a good standing member within your local branch.”
“That kind of forfeited him from becoming nominated and becoming president of the NAACP here in Irvington,” Harris said Monday, March 12.
According to Janice Morrell, a member of several local NAACP branches, “You have to be a member a certain number of days before the election before your name can be placed in nomination. The election manual details how many months you must have been a member in order to be a nominee and how long you must have been a member in order to vote. The individuals in question did not meet the requirement. And that was vetted by the national office.”