Ashley Drain and Alexander Bronson, who sent two incumbents of the Manteca Unified Board of Trustees packing in the November elections, will be sworn in at the December school board meeting even while questions about the legitimacy of some of the information they wrote down in the candidates’ papers they filed with the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters are being investigated.
“We’re not involved in that aspect,” said Chelo DeLeon, Superintendent Jason Messer’s secretary, who quickly qualified that she was not speaking on behalf of the district’s top administrative officer but was simply stating a fact.
Although the district has not received official certification from the Registrar of Voters on the victory of Drain and Branson in the election balloting, she said they are being treated as if they are going to be on the board based on the results of the elections. The Registrar of Voters is legally mandated to certify the official results 28 days after the elections. The district could expect to receive the notification by Dec. 9, or even as early as next week.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s office has confirmed they are investigating a formal complaint forwarded to them questioning whether Drain and Bronson meet legal requirements of being residents of the areas they were elected to represent.
There are two things that the district can do in a situation where elected candidates are eventually removed from office for one reason or another thereby creating vacancies, said Bassem Nakhla, candidates’ filing supervisor with the Registrar of Voters. The district or government agency can choose to hold a special election, or go by appointment. It is more likely that the choice will be the latter since special elections are expensive, he said.
With the elections already certified, though, it would take a court order to remove the elected candidates from office, Nakhla said. That court order would depend on the findings in the investigation.