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Drain back in court in election fraud case
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It has been more than four months since Ashley Drain resigned her position on the Manteca Unified School Board after the San Joaquin County District Attorney filed changes of election fraud.
But she’s still dealing with the fallout of what investigators believe was a claim that she used a straw address to qualify for running for the position within a district that had long-reaching implications.
Drain appeared in court in Stockton on Tuesday morning for a pre-preliminary hearing. She will next appear before a judge on Feb. 11 at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing stemming from the charges incurred as a result of the investigation into her residency.
On top of the election fraud charges, Drain was also charged with felony welfare fraud.
The unique aspect of her case with Manteca Unified is that she wasn’t alone in being charged for defrauding the electorate. Both she and resigned trustee Alexander Bronson managed to oust incumbents during the election in 2014, but both soon became the target of a probe that they were using addresses that were not their own in order to meet residency requirements.
The address that Bronson claimed to have lived at, in Manteca, was also written in on Drain’s application and then crossed off before an address that was listed within the district that she was running was written over the top.
The California Secretary of State conducted an investigation and the results were forwarded on to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office for consideration.
She resigned her position in September, nine months after being sworn into the position.
While Drain had her defenders, she also had her detractors while she was on the board. A very public recall effort was launched against her for the residency mishap after a Grand Jury report scolded her and Trustee Sam Fant for a variety of issues that stemmed from incidents at Weston Ranch High School that ultimately led to the departure of then Principal Jose Fregoso.
Inquiries about the status of Bronson’s case were unsuccessful as he was not found in the San Joaquin County Superior Court system.