CA polling locations at registered sex offender's homes

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

http://cbs13.com/local/sex.offenders.pol...

Nov 1, 2010 10:37 pm US/Pacific
CBS13 Investigates: Precinct Predators
MegansLaw.ca.gov

Sacramento County Polling Places By Executive Producer Dave Manoucheri
SACRAMENTO (CBS13)

It's a unique situation in California that when you go to vote you could be just as likely to vote in the garage of someone's home as you would in a church or a school.

Have you ever thought about who might live at those places where you pull the lever? We did, and found that the places you vote could very well be the home of a convicted sex offender.

After all, you've endured the ads, maybe even waited in line at the DMV to register to vote in the November 2nd election. The next step is getting that pamphlet in the mail telling you the address where you can cast your ballot.

It's addresses that got Linda Bozzo to download an app for her iPhone.

"I have several apps," says Linda as she moves her manicured nails over the high-resolution phone screen. Linda lives in San Francisco with her 19-year-old daughter. The app she brings up shows the location of the sex offenders in her neighborhood.

"...I came across all these names," she says as she scrolls over the map in her phone. Among those addresses is one that sounded familiar. It's an address that appears in the voter pamphlet she got in the mail in June, just before that election and just after she'd bought the sex offender program.

"This address is the same address," says Linda, pointing at the phone and the voter pamphlet in her hand. The address she remembered is the address of a convicted sex offender whose name appears on California's Megan's Law database.

"It scared me," she says, "I found out that his offense was rape by force that even scared me more. I couldn't believe it."

But that man's address isn't alone. In just a partial search of 5 Bay Area counties, our sister station in San Francisco found 19 polling place addresses listed as the residences of sex offenders, and the convictions ranged from rape to child molestation.

CBS13 obtained lists of every polling place in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and San Joaquin Counties. In combing through all the addresses, we found a total of 23 polling places where sex offenders live.

While Linda Bozzo's polling place was a sex offender's home, we also found apartment complexes and mobile home parks as well. Some had multiple sex offenders living in the complex where the community room or clubhouse was set up as a polling place.

We went to several neighborhoods we found in that search. In the parking lot of a Wal-Mart just down the street from one mobile home park, we found Victoria Travis putting her groceries in the car. She was preparing to head home, diapers in her hands for the toddler she had waiting. She had no idea that the polling place for her address was in a park where several sex offenders live.

"Who's going to want to vote knowing that a sex offender's right there," she asked?

CBS13 found 2 sex offenders live in that mobile home park. Victoria admits she never thought about the polling place at that community room, but she worries about what might happen when she's there.

"I wouldn't feel comfortable because what if they were there," Victoria wondered aloud, thinking about voting there with her child. "You leave your kid alone for a second and you don't know what's going to happen, you know?"

Donald Clement expressed similar thoughts: "they should be aware of what's going on," he says of county officials running the elections. Donald had no idea that three offenders lived in his apartment complex. It's where he plans on voting tomorrow. He thinks that if the county can't fix the problem, the legislature should.

"If it took that, for actual legislation to make it happen, then I would say yes. Definitely legislators should bring it into law." It's a statement Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine echoes.

There is no requirement for us to check that," LaVine says.

"There is a requirement also that I can't base employment based on what I find on Megan's law list so therefore I'm right back to where I started again."

That's right, technically, the owners of these single-family homes or locally-owned apartment complexes also work the elections, making them county employees, of a sort. LaVine says pulling the polling place would be like firing someone for being on the Megan's Law website, which is illegal.

Still, voters like Linda Bozzo wonder if they should at least let the voters and others know.

"Do they let the poll workers know that they're working in a house with a convicted sex offender," Bozzo asks.

"I think everyone agrees that it's not good policy to have polling places particularly in the residences of sex offenders," says Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher of San Diego. He says that this is a potential problem, but still isn't sure what to do about it.

"Particularly with the residence it doesn't seem to make sense that you would have a polling place at the home of a known sex offender," says Fletcher, "especially when you tend to think of all the high school students that tend to volunteer at these facilities."

But forensic psychologist Dr. Paul Goode says there's always a risk and it doesn't mean you're in danger at polling places.

"The truth is that most sex offenses occur within families, or with acquaintances," says Goode, "It's a different problem than the public thinks it is."

Regardless of the risk, nobody can say whose responsibility it is to address the issue.

There's one school of thought that says counties regulate elections, they regulate polling places, they could do it now," says Assemblyman Fletcher. Still, LaVine, Sacramento's Registrar says: "You know what, that would be a great bill for legislation."

"So is there a need for a state low or is it just an awareness issue or a county enforcement issue," wonders Fletcher, saying "those are the things we're working through."

LaVine reiterates that it's "something to be you know, kind of vetted out in the legislature."

Still, with the current legislative session over and the election less than a day away, there is no chance of the problem being addressed for this election.

"Who's going to want to vote knowing that a sex offender's right there," says Victoria Travis. Linda Bozzo uses even stronger language.

"I would have never fathomed that the polling place I was going to vote at was where a sex offender was going to be. It's just mind blowing."

Victoria Travis is leaning toward stronger action.

"It makes me not want to vote," she says. It's an action that could detrimentally affect the election if other voters have the same reaction.

LaVine says it doesn't need to come to that. She says you can vote by mail or go to any county office and vote early.

As for Linda Bozzo's polling place, San Francisco County actually removed the high school poll workers from that polling place in June, but none of the others.

Sacramento County says they are slowly getting rid of the single-family homes as polling places due to changes in flood control regulations. The new federal requirements raised the foundations and driveways of many homes used as polling places, making them inaccessible to handicapped voters, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For that reason, they're slowly removing those homes from the polling place lists.

For now, though, the other polls remain the same.

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SCARY!!! I am so glad my local polling place was at a church!!!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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I would be uncomfortable going to ANYONE'S home to vote...but to find out it was a sex offender's home?! I would throw a shit fit if it had happened to me.

"The truth is that most sex offenses occur within families, or with acquaintances," says Goode, "It's a different problem than the public thinks it is."
This is pretty ridiculous...let's just start with "most"...not all! Rapists and child molestors generally act on opportunity, they pick the shy child in the family, the child left alone the most int he family, the child easiest to manipulate or silence in the family, the weakest female in the family, the female that is most often alone etc etc etc. You take away those opportunities and who's to say they won't go from familial opportunities to any opportunity that arises? This is, of course, assuming that every sex offender only targets family...which isn't the case.
People should not have to vote in a place that makes them, or could make them, feel uncomfortable. At the absolutely bare minimum, it needs to be made known both on the placard giving polling places and on location itself that it the home of a convicted sex offender so people can make a choice for themselves, instead of be led, unaware, into the lion's den so to speak. But, it should be banned altogether, screw the law that says you can't fire someone based on their sex history...you have to keep the public's interest in mind too.

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Stifler's - posted on 11/03/2010

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Here there's no polling places at people's houses, they're at schools. I wouldn't really want to go to a random's house.

[deleted account]

Nope Tah, you're not... there are REALLY polling places in the homes of convicted and registered sex offenders here in CA... Ugh...

JuLeah - posted on 11/03/2010

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If the sex offender was one who went after chidlren, then they are breaking the law if they come within so many yards of a child. So, to have the public come to their home would be a violation of the law.
One who goes after children is a different breed then one who targets adults.
The sex offenders on the list are less of a worry to me then the ones not on the list. On average, they rape/abuse 80 times before they are caught.
Holly, jerks like this are found in Churches and Temples, and school, and doctors offices, and at the post office.
They are every where, so don't assume a uniform, or a profession, or a location, or a title means this person could never .... blending in, acting with charm, becoming a person no one would ever question or doubt is their goal and most are very good at it. Use your gut, listen to your gut - don't base fears on a person's looks, title, or position.

Jenn - posted on 11/03/2010

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You vote at people's houses? That's weird. When we vote it's at the community centre or library or some other place like that - never at a house!

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