Speed Reads

Voting Rights

Federal judge rules against opening second polling site in Dodge City, Kansas

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that Ford County, Kansas, Clerk Debbie Cox does not have to open a second polling site in Dodge City.

Cox moved the town's sole polling site from the Civic Center to the Expo Center, which is outside city limits, not accessible via sidewalk, and not regularly serviced by public transportation. In an attempt to get Cox to open a second polling location, a lawsuit was filed by first-time voter Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, 18, and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled that it is too close to the Nov. 6 election to do anything, because ordering the reopening of the Civic Center or the opening of a second location "likely would create more voter confusion than it might cure. The relief plaintiffs seek is not in the public's interest." Crabtree did say the court was troubled by a letter sent to Cox by the ACLU that she forwarded to a state official; the letter was asking her to publicize a voter's help line, and she added the comment "LOL."

Cox testified that she moved the voting site because she anticipated construction taking place at the Civic Center; there is no construction going on at this time. She also said there will be signs up at the Civic Center telling people where to go to vote, and that she called the city about providing rides to voters. When asked about the "LOL" comment, she said she took it "seriously," but she can't just put whatever people ask her to on her website.