NAACP Demands Wake School Runoff Go On

T. Keung Hui, Raleigh News & Observer, October 22, 2009

The state NAACP demanded today that elections officials go ahead with a planned Wake County school board election runoff, which could create a situation in which diversity policy supporters retain control of the school board.

Wake school board candidate Cathy Truitt submitted a letter Wednesday asking that her request for a Nov. 3 runoff be withdrawn. If the election is canceled by the state Board of Elections, John Tedesco would win the seat and give opponents of the diversity policy a majority on the school board.

But the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said election officials should not honor Truitt’s request. If the election occurs and Truitt gets the most votes, the current school board could fill the seat with a candidate who’d preserve the majority in favor of the diversity policy.

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The Wake Count Board of Elections has called a special meeting for noon Friday to decide whether to seek guidance from state officials. The state Board of Elections could decide on the runoff on Monday.

Barber accused the Republican Party of trying to cancel the election to subvert the political process and return to resegregated high-poverty schools.

Supporters of the diversity policy argue that abandoning it in favor of neighborhood schools will lead to resegregation because housing patterns are not diverse.

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Barber said state law requires the runoff to be held, especially since early voting began last week and absentee ballots have been cast. State and local elections officials have said the laws don’t cover what happens when a candidate rescinds a runoff request. {snip}

[Editor’s Note: Background for this story can be read here.]

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