State NAACP squabble resolved with new election

A candidate who disputed his loss in the election for president of the Connecticut NAACP last year won in a new vote Saturday, the civil rights group announced.

James Griffin defeated Lisa Scails, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the winner of the disputed race Oct. 27, 2001. Candidate Rory Edwards, president of the civil rights group’s New Britain branch, also was on the ballot.

“I’m happy with the results and I look forward to working with each and everyone in the state conference to improve the relations and bring about positive change in the NAACP,” Griffin said.

NAACP officials refused to disclose the tally, which was not accessible to news reporters as they tried to enter the Community Action Agency where the balloting was held.

Scails told WTIC-TV that the second election “confirms that our process works.”

The second vote was scheduled after several members and officials of the civil rights organization filed a complaint with the national organization in Baltimore. They alleged impropriety in the first tally.

Griffin, head of the Waterbury chapter of the NAACP, said he defeated Scails in the October tally by 33-32. Edwards won 28 votes.

During a recount, former state president Ben Andrews ruled two ballots spoiled and called for another vote. By the time the second vote was completed, enough Griffin supporters left the convention to give Scails a 41-31 victory.

Griffin’s supporters said with the election finally out of the way, it’s time for the organization to get down to business.

“The people spoke once again,” said Carroll E. Brown, who sits on the executive board of the Greater New Haven chapter. “[Griffin is] going to bring us all into the fold. He’s a leader and he can’t be bought out.”

Brown said the organization must tackle issues such as education, housing and health care.

Dave Gilmore, the director of the Community Action Agency, where the election was held, preferred to discuss the future rather than the election dispute.

“We need to talk about empowering black people who have not had fair access to jobs and education,” he said.

–Associated Press

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