Republicans Have Made Voting In This Majority Latino Town In Kansas Nearly Impossible
Dodge City, Kan. is a town of more than 27,000 people located in the southwestern part of the state. Sixty percent of the town population is Latino and the town has always had just one voting location at the civic center in the Kansas town. However, that has all changed after the only polling station was moved outside of the city to a building that is one mile away from the nearest bus stop. The decision to move the polling location has sparked nationwide anger.
Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox is under fire for perceived voter suppression in Dodge City, Kan.
Ford County clerk who is suppressing the votes of minorities in Dodge City KS. Moved polls out of town for 13k voters pic.twitter.com/lQetf4eCiO
— JeanFB (@Jeanfb18Jean) November 1, 2018
Cox is an elected county clerk who announced the change of the polling place from the civic center to a new Expo Center outside the city limits Sept. 28. The move received immediate backlash since the new polling place is one mile away from the nearest bus stop and there are no sidewalks for voters to safely walk to the polling place.
The county clerk claimed that the construction at the civic center made it inaccessible for voters. However, recent investigations have cast doubt on that reasoning.
They say that Dodge City voters can't vote in their usual polling location because it is inaccessible due to construction. So we went there to see for ourselves. Wanna guess what we found? pic.twitter.com/dO5BVUOtkP
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 1, 2018
The Rachel Maddow Show team was in Dodge City, Kan. and visited the site of the former polling place for the predominately Latino city. While the building seems accessible and safe, it is unclear why officials are not allowing people to vote in the polling place that has been around for two decades.
The state official that is responsible for overseeing Kansas’ voting process is Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach first made national headlines when he was tapped by President Trump to spearhead an investigation into what Republicans claimed was illegal voting, particularly in California.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Ford County asking for a second polling station.
— Jeffrey Cohen (@MrJeff2000) November 1, 2018
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens and Alejandro Rangel-Lopez. According to NBC News, Rangel-Lopez is an 18-year-old son of Mexican immigrants who plans on voting this coming election. County Clerk Cox notified Kobach’s office about the impending litigation commenting “LOL.”
For some new voters in the city, the obstacle is more reason to vote.
Alejandro, newly 18 years-old, is super-excited to vote in Dodge City, KS this year. Unfortunately he has to adjust to the way we do it now, in 2018. pic.twitter.com/uBlnMWzGTV
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 1, 2018
Rangel-Lopez, shown above, is the child of Mexican immigrants and plans to vote, according to The Rachel Maddow Show. This is just one of several examples of Republican-led states participating in alleged voter suppression. Similar stories have come out from North Dakota and Georgia.
In a major blow to voter’s rights, a federal judge dismissed the suit claiming it was too late to ask for a second voting station.
— Pilar Pedraza TV (@PilarPedrazaTV) November 1, 2018
According to CNN, the judge ruled that it would cause more confusion for voters than help.
“It would be extraordinarily difficult,” the state’s Elections Director Bryan Caskey in court, told KAKE. “It would be even more so without violating several state laws.”
In a statement after the ruling, ACLU Kansas spokesperson Mark McCormick said, “We believe that Dodge City voters will get another polling place since, as one of our attorneys pointed out, one polling station for 13,000 voters in Dodge City, but three polling places for 1,300 people for the rest of Ford County simply makes no sense. Our clients will get the relief they seek – eventually. Again, this is a small part of a larger action we’ve undertaken.”
Voto Latino and Lyft have stepped up to help Dodge City voters access the polling station they are forced to use.
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) October 21, 2018
Lyft and Uber are independently offering free rides to people going to polling places across the country. Click here to learn more about using Lyft and Uber to get you to the polls for free.