Two registered sex offenders and the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws can proceed to trial with their lawsuit challenging a Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder policy that prohibits all registrants from serving as poll workers, a judge ruled Friday.
However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet, in denying a defense motion to dismiss the suit, also rejected the plaintiff’s request for a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs without a trial, saying there are triable issues on both sides.
According to the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed last May 7, the Registrar-Recorder policy preventing registrants from working as poll workers is superseded by state law, which supplants local legislation and has no provision banning sex offenders from working as poll workers.
The two individual plaintiffs live in Los Angeles County and want to serve as poll workers, the suit states. The other plaintiff, ACSOL, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the civil rights of sex offender registrants through litigation, legislation and education.
Although L.A. and Orange counties prohibit all registered sex offenders from serving as poll workers, several counties including Riverside, Sacramento and San Diego, do not, according to the suit, which maintains there is no state law that prohibits registrants from serving as poll workers.
The state’s Megan’s Law website identifies more than 13,000 registered sex offenders — including those convicted of non-contact, non-violent offenses — living in Los Angeles County. All are banned from serving as poll workers, the suit states.
According to the court papers of the lawyers representing the Registrar-Recorder, the agency in October 2016 added the following statement to applications for and informational materials about volunteer poll workers: “Individuals who are registered sex offenders cannot volunteer.”
The same attorneys also state in their court papers that the plaintiff’s argument that state law negates the Registrar-Recorder’s policy “fails to take into account defendant’s statutorily granted discretion to remove persons appointed to volunteer as poll workers.”
Because the Registrar-Recorder’s statement is expressly authorized by the state Elections Code, it does not conflict with general state law, according to the agency’s attorneys’ court papers.
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