Smitherman Appeals NAACP Election Count

Christopher Smitherman has filed an appeal with the NAACP’s national headquarters seeking a new election for the local chapter’s presidency, alleging that current president Edith Thrower didn’t comply with the group’s rules about how elections should be handled during recent balloting.

Smitherman made the request today through his attorney, Patricia Foster. He alleges that Thrower shouldn’t have served on the chapter’s Election Supervisory Committee or acted as its chair because candidates for office are prohibited from serving in that capacity.

Moreover, Smitherman says Thrower inconsistently applied rules about which new memberships were eligible to vote in the election, to stack the deck in her favor. He alleges about 30 people were allowed to vote in the Nov. 28 election who didn’t make the filing deadline. For the most part, those people were Thrower’s supporters.

Also, the manner in which the contested ballots were handled after the election was inappropriate, Smitherman says. The ballots were taken home for safekeeping by the Rev. Victor Brown, a close friend of Thrower’s.

The complaint states, “Irregular activities that were entirely beyond the scope of any authority vested by the (election procedures) manual occurred during the nine days after the votes were tallied and the official canvass was signed that changed the apparent winner of the election for president.”

In initial tallying, Smitherman, a former member of Cincinnati City Council, won the election in a 134-125 vote, defeating incumbent Thrower. After the Election Supervisory Committee reviewed some contested ballots, however, some were deemed ineligible and Thrower won by one vote.

Different standards were applied to determine membership status and who was eligible to vote, according to Smitherman. For example, the Rev. Ronald Sherman is listed as a new member, solicited by Thrower, on the Nov. 13 membership roll. But Sherman previously was listed as the local chapter’s chaplain under the “officers” section of the NAACP’s letterhead on a letter dated Oct. 4. All members must be in “good standing” for at least 30 days prior to serving as an officer. The same standard, however, was enforced by Thrower at an Oct. 26 meeting when she didn’t allow a lifetime member, Herbert Walker, to be nominated as president based on Walker’s name not being listed on the membership roll.

Smitherman says this is just one of many instances in which the group has inconsistent procedures and the written rules aren’t followed.

Sensing possible problems in the weeks before the election, Smitherman had unsuccessfully requested a thorough review of all membership applications received after Oct. 1 to determine each new member’s eligibility to vote. Also, he wanted an audit of the existing general membership list to ensure the inclusion of all members whose fees were paid by Oct. 27. After the audit, he sought to have an official list of members who are eligible to vote compiled and have that list, not the general membership list, used in the voting process to ensure the election’s integrity.

To promote transparency and alleviate future concerns over voting eligibility, Smitherman wanted the audit’s findings sent in writing to him and all other candidates in the Nov. 28 election. He says a reply was never received.

— Kevin Osborne

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15 Comments on “Smitherman Appeals NAACP Election Count”

  1. The Dean Says:

    I still should start charging. I hope you’ve had your fifth cup.

  2. Pedro Says:

    Go Smither

    Go Smither

    Go Smither

    Go Smitherman.

  3. Kevin Osborne Says:

    Dear Dean,

    1.) My blog entry was posted BEFORE yours. (If my editors could ever figure out how to fix/set the internal blog clock, this wouldn’t be an issue.)

    2.) People e-mail me information, too.

    3.) I am only on cup number two for the day.

    Have a splendid day.


  4. Not the Mamma Cass! Says:

    let’s review, shall we?

    1. Smitherman never spoke before City Council before being elected (don’t want to reveal your ignorance).
    2. Smitherman didn’t join the Finance Committee even though he “talked” about financial issues and is (?) a Financial Planner (don’t want to reveal your innumeracy).
    3. Smitherman never said boo about Roger Owensby, Jr. until after he was elected to City Council (don’t want to expend potential political capital too early).
    4. Smitherman never said boo about the state of the City’s Retirement Trust Fund until after he was elected to Council (don’t want to pee off Dan Radford and his Union $$).
    5. Smitherman never said boo about Kabaka Oba until after he was elected to Council (don’t want to pee off Whites, Gays or Jews and their $$).
    6. Smitherman has never been an active or visible member of the NAACP before running for its Presidency (don’t want to give your work away- got bills to pay).

    Mr. “I’m happy to be a one-term Councilmember” who’s already announced his 2007 campaign (presumably without Charter’s endorsement) has a demonstrated history of opportunism mixed with cowardice. As the Cincinnati Chapter NAACP is for all intents and purposes ineffective, the outcome of this sad situation is without import.

  5. Nate Says:

    I would imagine the same people feeding The Dean information are feeding it to Kevin. Both of you are only giving one side of the story.

  6. Kevin Osborne Says:


    Please check my previous blog posting. It contained both sides. This posting clearly is to elaborate on the legal standing of Smitherman’s case. If Thrower wants to put out a similar statement, rest assured it will be blogged upon.

    Also, I usually don’t take journalistic tips from a person who regularly uses name-calling and sexual innuendo on his blog.


  7. WestEnder Says:

    Howcome KO answers questions posed in the comments but Gregory Flannery does not? Or does CityBeat only respond to questions from the Dean and Nate? Just wondering.

  8. Gregory Flannery Says:

    Greg Flannery’s failure to answer questions can be attributed to a variety of factors, including but not limited to sloth, lack of anything meaningful to say, disdain for the question, the belief that a particular question is rhetorical and the desire to avoid self-incrimination.

  9. Kevin Osborne Says:

    Knowing Greg well, I can attest to the validity of that.

  10. Kenny Says:

    Dean, this blog should be charging YOU for advertising. I like your blog too and your self-promotional tactics are actually charming and funny (to me anyway), but the idea that CB is stealing from you is delusional at best.

  11. Natasha Says:

    Gregory Flannery guilty of . . . “sloth, lack of anything meaningful to say, disdain for the question, the belief that a particular question is rhetorical and the desire to avoid self-incrimination.”???


  12. Gregory Flannery Says:

    Wait. Was that a question?

  13. Natasha Says:

    Hmmm, well maybe I only believe the part about you desiring to avoid self-incrimination!

  14. Not the Mamma Cass! Says:

    Yes but it was rhetorical. You may have been too slothful to notice.

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