The election to select a new president of the Harford County NAACP remained undecided after 22 of 177 votes cast last night were challenged.
Eric Bryant, a national NAACP official, said that the challenged votes will be checked to make sure that the people who cast them are members of the civil rights group.
Bryant, who is national assistant director of field elections, said the new president should be known today.
After months of bickering within its ranks, the Harford chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was due to choose between President Janice Grant and challenger Joseph Bond, a former Harford NAACP chief.
Members voted at the Aberdeen branch of the Harford County Public Library.
The local election, originally scheduled for Nov. 30, was postponed for three weeks by the national NAACP. That happened when a slate of nominees and a membership roster were not made available to chapter members, said Walter Smothers, chairman of the local election committee.
The loyalties of the Harford branch have been split since a group of members called for Grant's resignation during the summer. They claimed she did not follow NAACP constitutional rules at monthly meetings and was not fair when selecting delegates for the national convention, which met in Baltimore in July.
Grant maintains she followed NAACP guidelines when selecting the convention representatives.
Grant, a Baltimore schoolteacher, has been president since 1994. Bond, 74, retired this year as director of logistics at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Bond led the branch from 1988 to 1994 before stepping down. He ran for president again in 1998 and lost to Grant by three votes.
This year, he decided to seek leadership of the organization one more time. "I want to try to enhance the mission of the NAACP," he said, noting voter empowerment as an issue of importance.
When Bond was president, he monitored the Harford County school system's hiring practices and treatment of students, especially minorities. In 1993, he organized workshops to teach students and parents their rights.
Grant also has been a visible presence with the branch. In recent months, it filed two federal lawsuits charging the towns of Havre de Grace and Aberdeen and their police departments with civil rights violations. The branch is seeking $34 million in damages.