NAACP says election should go ahead

November 16, 2009 7:42:14 AM PST
The NAACP weighed in on the controversy over a runoff for the Wake County School Board Thursday.Candidate Cathy Truitt had chosen to take part in a November runoff after frontrunner John Tedesco didn't get a large enough majority to prevent it. But this week, she had a change of heart and officially backed out.

Now, the NAACP says it should go forward anyway, and claims any attempt to prevent that is an attempt to thwart the election and re-segregate schools. Tedesco is expected to vote with the new elected majority of school board members who favor community schools.

"Subsequent efforts to get off the ballot after this date, when preparations have already been made for the election, should be disallowed," said NC NAACP State President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

But Cathy Truitt says she simply should have done more research before calling for a runoff.

"It was not a conspiracy. It was not a secret plan of any sort. It is an act of reality the voters did not support me," she told ABC11.

But the NAACP says it won't let the issue go.

"We are not going to stop fighting because of an election, and if that election proves to be one that will take us backwards instead of forward, we intend to use every resource, every legal means, every legislative mean and every mean of activism, to fight that regression," said Barber.

Barber claims people are trying to manipulate election laws.

"It's entirely another thing to try and manipulate the law and voting process in the middle of an election where voters have already gone to the polls," he said.

But election frontrunner John Tedesco says the voters have already spoken.

"We believe voters had six to nine months to get to know each of us candidates to come out and make a choice," he said.

Tedesco says a runoff would just confuse many voters who think the election is over.

"It's sort of an awkward situation. There's sort of no right answer here in that sense except, in my opinion, people voted and they voted in overwhelming numbers," he offered.

The Wake Board of Elections is asking the state for an opinion on what to do. It's holding an emergency meeting Friday.

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