Ford County Administrator J.D. Gilbert’s statement is a thinly veiled attempt to shift the embarrassing responsibility of spending $90,000 and counting on a lawsuit rather than simply opening more polling places as Dodge City constituents have most reasonably asked.
While the ACLU of Kansas filed the lawsuit, it did so on behalf of Dodge City residents who’d tried for more than a year to get Cox to address their concerns. After little progress, those constituents contacted us.
Our clients, LULAC and Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, remain open to any settlement offers and invite Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox to propose some concrete plans that address their voting access concerns.
Specifically, Cox could make this lawsuit disappear today by promising to open more polling sites. To date, she’s only indicated an intent to do so.
In addition to the year-long attempts by her constituents, the ACLU of Kansas wrote her three letters, which Judge Crabtree said in an earlier decision that Cox largely ignored. In fact, she infamously responded, “LOL,” to one of our inquiries.
Though they’d probably like to, surely Cox and Ford County government haven’t forgotten the “LOL” email already.
Their constituents sure haven’t.
Our discussions with Kansas County Clerks and elections officials indicate Cox could have opened a dozen polling places for what she’s spent in legal fees -- and Ford County taxpayers haven’t received January’s bills yet.
Ford County government should just open more polling places already, and stop trying to shift the blame for its lack of constituent responsiveness.