CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Outgoing NAACP-Corpus Christi President Terry Mills held a news conference Thursday morning, putting a public face on a faction of the group's members protesting what he called a "fraud election."
"I'm sure I'm gonna get in trouble with the national office -- I don't care," Mills said. "Someone told me this morning -- I haven't heard it personally -- if I go along with this press conference that I would be removed from the association. Remove me. Because I will always speak up in the name of righteousness."
The H. Boyd Hall Chapter -- as the local group is officially known -- announced the election's results Friday; Jeremy Coleman defeated Mills.
Those in attendance Thursday alluded to the NAACP's parent organization being responsible for the rift. Mills said the group never received a response to its attempts to contact the national office to set up a Zoom election.
And according to other members, election ballots were to have been delivered via e-mail, but were never received, nor were they notified an election was taking place.
"The NAACP has very high standards, and we're asking to invalidate this fraud election and do a do-over," he said. "Correct the wrong that has been done."
Mills said Thursday that his objection to the results has nothing to do with hurt feelings, and everything to do with fairness, calling the circumstance surrounding this election voter suppression.
"We treat people fairly in this organization," he said. "(The) NAACP fights for stuff like this throughout the United States."
Several members spoke during the event, including some who said they were on the ballot. Yet they said they never received the chance to vote for themselves.
"I'm like a lot of you," said longtime member Jewel Wilson. "I didn't get an opportunity to vote. I knew nothing about it until it was done. I found out at church on Sunday morning. I didn't know anything about it. It was not in my email, it was not in my text messages."
Mills said 90 percent of the group's members did not vote in the election -- an aberration from the turnout in years past. Of the chapter's 840 members, 150 of those votes went to Coleman and Mills received 17. He said in past elections he has received hundreds of votes in his favor, in stark contrast to Friday's results.
"I've been in many elections. I've lost four, but I don't count this. This is a fraud," he said, putting up four fingers and wiggling a fifth thumb.
And after those losses, he said, he has approached his opponent and shaken their hand, congratulated them, and offered his help. He said he's unable to do that now under the circumstances.
"I cannot do that in good conscience knowing that this was stolen away from the voters," he said. "Take me out of the process, but you guys need to be heard."
It's a sentiment Wilson echoed.
"We all feel very, very hurt the fact that we weren't notified," she said. "We don't care who won. Do it right."
This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for updates.