On October 3, 2018, the ACLU of Kansas wrote a letter to Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox addressing both historical polling place concerns and immediate concerns related to the relocation of a single, heavily burdened Dodge City polling site.
The letter came out of contact the ACLU of Kansas received from a Ford County resident in the fall of 2017 about voting issues and “Debbie Cox’s seeming unwillingness to help or even address the concerns.”
Dodge City has had only one polling location after Ford County closed all other polling locations over a decade ago. The remaining polling place at the Civic Center is located on the north side of the city in the wealthier and majority-white neighborhoods of Dodge City. This polling site serves 13,136 voters, making it one of the most burdened polling places in the state of Kansas. The average polling place in Kansas serves 1,200 voters.
More recently, due to construction on the Civic Center, Ms. Cox moved the polling location for Dodge City to the Western State Bank EXPO Center outside of the city limits, in a place with no accessible public transportation. Additionally, freight trains often bisect Dodge City midday, potentially blocking voters' access to the polling station.
The historic and recent polling concerns especially impact residents of the southern part of Dodge City, thousands of whom are Hispanic. Dodge City is one of Kansas' only majority-minority cities, with more than 50% of its population Hispanic. Hispanic elected officials are grossly underrepresented in Dodge City.
The ACLU of Kansas called on Ms. Cox to remedy Ford County's polling practices and take steps to improve polling conditions in Dodge City.