Gabrielle Blackman has been cleared to become a member of the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD), now that official results have been certified by Alameda County Voter Registrar Tim Dupuis.
DUSD Public Information Officer Chip Dehnert said that Blackman will have voting rights on the board at the next meeting, Aug. 1. The special meeting replaces the regularly scheduled meeting on July 23.
The official oath of office will be administered at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting, after the school is back in session, when more people can attend, said Dehnert.
After it became evident that the unofficial tally for Area 4 in DUSD showed that Blackman won 70% of the vote, she was seated on the board dais at two meetings. She was allowed to take part in the board discussion, but not vote.
Blackman defeated Niranjana “Nini” Natarajan for the seat vacated by Joe Giannini, who resigned in October, due to a time conflict in his busy schedule.
The board appointed Natarajan on a 3-1 vote. However, a group of voters filed a petition to nullify the appointment and go to an election. Because of the relatively small percentage that state school code permits to call for a special election, compared to the state election code requirements, only 75 valid signatures were needed.
Another reason few valid signatures were needed was the district’s switch from at-large elections, where all residents had a chance to vote for a candidate, to area seats. That cut the numbers of voters by about four-fifths.
The switch to area elections was the result of a Walnut Creek attorney’s lawsuit threat that demanded the district make the change, to make it more likely that minority candidates would find a more level playing field in campaigning.