By Katie Moore, The Topeka Capital-Journal

Ford County spent more than $100,000 fighting a three-month-long voting access lawsuit.

The county paid the Hinkle Law Firm $100,936 in legal fees and services, according to a document obtained through an open records request.
 
Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox was sued in October after relocating Dodge City’s sole polling site outside city limits ahead of the November midterm election.
 
The ACLU, representing LULAC Kansas and Dodge City resident Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, alleged that voters, particularly the Hispanic electorate, were being disenfranchised.
 
Dodge City is one of the state’s few majority-minority cities, with more than half of its population identifying as Hispanic.
 
The county hired attorney Bradley Schlozman, with the Hinkle Law Firm, to represent Cox.
 
On Jan. 22, Cox announced the opening of two voting locations within Dodge City. The ACLU then filed a motion to dismiss the case.
 
The cost to open a new site varies depending on factors like equipment and setup. Harvey County estimated expenses around $5,000 while Saline County reported costs at nearly $22,000.
 
“We hope future election officials will invest this money in making it easier to vote rather than defending decisions that disenfranchise their constituents,” said Lauren Bonds, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kansas.
 
Cox didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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