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Single-member District supporters allege that NAACP is committing violations of election law and Alachua County’s Future PAC is instigating vandalism and theft

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Amplify Alachua, the group behind the campaign for the Single-Member Districts Charter Amendment, has accused the NAACP of election violations for their role in disseminating signs that oppose the charter amendment, and a citizen has filed a complaint against Alachua County’s Future, a Political Action Committee (PAC) formerly chaired by County Commission Candidate Ken Cornell, for encouraging their supporters to vandalize and remove signs in favor of the charter amendment.

NAACP signs may violate campaign finance laws

The Single-Member District Charter Amendment asks voters this question: Shall the five members of the Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County, Florida, be elected to office from single-member districts by electors residing in each of those districts only?

Amplify Alachua, with the financial backing of PACs chaired by Stafford Jones, has been running ads and distributing mailers and signs that support the charter amendment. Save Our Vote Alachua, funded by the Alachua County’s Future PAC, has been campaigning against the charter amendment on its social media pages, including the Alachua County’s Future Facebook page.

The NAACP has also gotten involved, with signs springing up in Gainesville that say, “VOTE NO For single member districts NAACP,” with the disclaimer, “Paid for and approved by the Alachua County Branch NAACP.”

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Amplify Alachua says that the NAACP is not a PAC and therefore cannot “produce, publish, or disseminate any electioneering material like these signs; it is a blatant violation of election law.”

Amplify Alachua also says that “Article IX of the NAACP Constitution clearly states that local chapters cannot enact policies that run counter to that of the national organization” and that the NAACP, specifically through their Legal Defense Fund, has repeatedly stated that Single-Member Districts are preferred due to the racial discrimination perpetrated by At-Large Districts.

An FAQ page at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF) site includes this quote:

Fewer and fewer districts still practice at-large voting. That is because courts and other decision-makers long have recognized that discriminatory methods of election, like at-large voting, enhance the discrimination that communities of color experience because of socioeconomic and other disparities in life opportunities between Black and white communities.

LDF has long worked to eradicate discriminatory at-large methods of election that dilute the voting strength of communities of color.

The same page also includes this quote:

At-large methods of election are often discriminatory because they, in combination with racially polarized voting, prevent voters of color from electing their candidates of choice where they are not the majority in the jurisdiction. Under this system, the votes of voters of color often are drowned out or submerged by the votes of a majority of white voters who often do not support the candidates preferred by Black voters.

A recent demand letter from the Officer of the General Counsel of the NAACP to Jones did not address the NAACP’s position on single-member districts but simply demanded that Jones stop using the organization’s name, logo, and quotes in campaign materials.

In a prepared statement, Amplify Alachua said, “While a prestigious organization within American society, culture, and politics, the NAACP must respect the same rules that govern all political messaging. Due to this violation of election and internal law, we will be filing an election complaint in the county of Alachua.”

Alachua County’s Future accused of inciting criminal activity

Diana Carlson, a resident of the City of Alachua, is in the process of filing a Citizen Complaint with the Alachua Police Department and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that posts on the “Alachua County’s Future” Facebook page have encouraged supporters to “take the law into their own hands by removing pro Single-Member Districts political signs thereby indiscriminately inciting the theft of property under Florida law; and (2) encouraging their supporters to deface and vandalize pro Single-Member Districts political signs thereby indiscriminately inciting the vandalism of property under Florida law.”

Carlson’s complaint goes on to allege that the posts represent “an attempt or conspiracy to commit and/or incite crimes under Florida law.” The complaint “requests the intervention of law enforcement to prevent the theft and vandalisms of pro Single-Member Districts political signs by Alachua County’s Future and to ensure the election integrity of the Single-Member Districts voting referendum on the November 8, 2022 ballot.”

The “Alachua County’s Future” Facebook page states that “Save Our Vote Alachua” is responsible for the page, and the Save Our Vote Alachua website says it is “Paid for by Alachua County’s Future.”

The Alachua County’s Future PAC was formerly chaired by Alachua County Commission Candidate Ken Cornell, but Cornell told us he resigned as chair on April 1, 2022. Cornell also told us he has “nothing to do with that PAC since 4/1/22 or their [Facebook] site.”

Amplify Alachua sent the following prepared statement: “Ken Cornell and a handful of incumbent politicians accuse the concerned citizens of Alachua County of running a campaign of lies, dark money, and outside influence. The people of Alachua County will see through their desperate attempts to retain their power; they lie about Single-Member Districts, our campaigns, and our supporters because they have no arguments against the referendum on the merits, all while committing the very things they accuse us of doing.”  

Carlson told us that after she posted a comment on one of the above Facebook posts, she was blocked from the “Alachua County’s Future” Facebook and Instagram accounts. She told us, “They claim to be very progressive and all-inclusive, but they only want to hear from people that agree with them. And that is not all-inclusive. Gathering signs is not their job; that is the job of the codes enforcement officer.” When she spoke with us, she was waiting for an Alachua Police Department officer to take her complaint, and she said the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is closed today, but she plans to go there tomorrow morning to file the complaint.

Alachua Chronicle has contacted NAACP Alachua County Branch President Evelyn Foxx for comments, and those will be added when we receive them.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. on Nov. 6 to reflect information from Cornell about his resignation as chair of the Alachua County’s Future PAC.

Updated at 10:50 a.m. on Nov. 7 with comment from Cornell.

    • The end justify the means for these ideologues who openly encourage theft, vandalism, and anarchy.

  • what a bunch of whining babies. this is all just making excuses
    in advance of losing. every election that isn’t won must’ve been stolen! why not call DeSanctimonious’ election police, or are they closed on Sundays, too?

    • May want to take a break…

      Or suck on the liberal teats a little less, they’re definitely having an impact on reality.

  • Stafford never misses an opportunity to prove what whiny little child he is. He has lost and he can’t look his masters Clemons and Perry and admit he wasted all their money. Stafford, this L is on you fella.

    • Not over till the lady sings. Then you can go back to your plantation owners.

  • Ahhhhh, poor baby…..show me on the doll where the bad sign guy touched you. #snowflake

  • This is peak Stafford Jones wining. Now wonder his friends have a nickname for him.

    • It must really worry the liberal lunatics that the Stafford’s campaign may be winning.

      Maybe during your next spelling lesson you’ll pay more attention…
      If you can’t figure that one out you may want to pay attention in English as well.

  • They’re obviously worried about their grip on power over the outlying communities.

    Did the local NAACP get permission to board the mules they’ve been promised. Wonder if the county is planning on giving back some of the acreage to the oppressed peoples who’ve been displaced.

    Nope…never gonna happen.

  • “Amplify Alachua also says that “Article IX of the NAACP Constitution clearly states that local chapters cannot enact policies that run counter to that of the national organization””
    Let me try and understand. Amplify Alachua folks raise money to enforce the INTERNAL rules of the NAACP. Otay………..

  • Common Ploy for Democrats. They have to cheat like Alford, Wheeler and Mini Kenny. Thier apparent failed agenda and taxpayer theft should be investigated by the Govenor

  • As a long-time resident of Alachua County, I have seen the effects of the local Democrat machine for many election cycles. The brazen lawlessness of some in power (I try not to fall into the trap of painting with too broad a brush) is not only wrong, but it has also been damaging our community. The mandates, harming young people in my own family, were the last straw for me. I’m awake now, and many others are as well. We are paying attention, and we are determined to hold those in power accountable. I’m so thankful for this careful reporting – the information is empowering! Thank you to Amplify Alachua as well!

  • And people wonder why Springs County might be a thing. It’s long since time little Charlie McCarthy Cornell was put back in his puppet box and returned to his Bosshardt masters.

  • Consider what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. If the NAACP tried to enforce the internal rules of the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee, Stafford Jones would be on top of Century Tower screaming to the four winds “Butt out. Private Club. Keep out of our internal business!!!!!” On the other hand, I look forward to reading tomorrow’s headline news article “Stafford changes his name to Karen.”

    • Wonder if the Democrat voters will continue to be fools?

      The NAACP would probably have to get permission from the plantation owners before that happened. Isn’t that what they have to do now?

      If SMD manages to pass, I wonder who’ll be the first organization saying it was rigged, the NAACP or the Alachua County Democratic Party?

      • Yo, Fool: One thing Democrats are very good at is watching Republicans and copying what they do. Like dirty tricks. If SMD passes, Dems will do what your Hero Trump would do: Deny the results, claim the vote was rigged, refuse to recognize the results, hire Rudy to fight, and refuse to put the changes in the charter. It is the new norm, thanks to you Trumpkins who showed the modern way of election denial. You reap what you sow.

        • 🤣 You’ve got one thing right, Dems are great at copying, attempting it anyway.

          All your enamored feelings towards Trump and you forgot to mention something he has that you do not – he lives rent free – In your and many other Democrats’ heads. I guess it helps fill that empty space of yours so that’s of some benefit. You may want to thank him, he’s done more for you than your local elected leaders.

  • Goston says, “Golly Gee, these people will vote for anything…..right Stafford?”

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