Skip to comments.‘Impossible’: Both sides clash in court over adding second Dodge City voting site
Posted on 10/30/2018 8:43:50 PM PDT by eccentric
Opening a second Election Day polling place in Dodge City is impossible, an attorney for the county clerk at the center of a growing Kansas controversy over voting rights said Monday.
An 18-year-old Dodge City resident and a Latino civil rights group are suing Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox in an effort to force her to reopen the polling location used by Dodge Citys 13,000 registered voters before Cox moved voting to a site a half mile outside the city limits.
Attorneys for the resident, Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, and the League of United Latin American Citizens clashed with attorneys for Cox during a conference call in the case. With the Nov. 6 election approaching, Judge Daniel Crabtree decided to give both sides until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file written arguments.
With all due respect, it is at this point humanly impossible to take the logistical steps necessary at this late stage to open a second polling place, said Bradley Schlozman, an attorney for Cox. Schlozman said opening a second polling site would create massive confusion that would likely disenfranchise voters. He said it would require breaking state laws about providing notice of new voting locations and that computers would have to be reprogrammed.
Schlozman accused the American Civil Liberties Union, which is spearheading the lawsuit against Cox, of sitting on concerns about the polling place for a month. He noted that the polling place was officially moved in September but that the lawsuit was filed just last week.
Mark Johnson, an attorney for Rangel-Lopez and LULAC, said that the ACLU had previously been asking Cox to make changes rather than filing litigation.
And he noted that Cox had forwarded one letter from the ACLU asking her to publicize a voter help line to a state official with the comment LOL. That email from Cox was first reported by The Eagle.
Laugh out loud. This is the attitude we received from Ms. Cox. If theres a problem, its of her creation, Johnson said.
Both sides indicated they would appeal if Crabtree rules against them, but Schlozman indicated Cox would appeal immediately in an effort to put a hold on the ruling.
Cox also wants the case moved from Kansas City, Kan., to Wichita because of the distance from Dodge City. Crabtree didnt immediately rule on the motion.
Dodge City has received growing national attention since Coxs decision to move the citys single Election Day polling location, citing construction. There is no sidewalk or public transportation access to the new location, but the city has said it will offer free rides on Election Day.
To be frank, it’s nuts Dodge only has one polling place. But, they are busing there. There is no case to force adding another location. The city is right.
I heard in an earlier news report that there are buses being provided to take people from the original voting site to the new one. If people can get to the old site, they can get to the new site (for FREE!).
These things always come down to last minute complaints. I believe the plaintiffs attorneys (rightly) believe their side will receive favorable treatment because anything short of capitulation will be played up as disenfranchisement.
Adding the LOL was unprofessional and can be construed as a flippant disregard to a real issue.
Construction? I just drove through Dodge a month
ago and didn’t see any construction through the main road. It was a delightful surprise when all the construction that was there for years, was finally completed!
On the other hand, they Know they need more polling places. There’s no reasonable reason for not planning for them in advance.
I have to agree at least a bit with the ACLU on this. Moving a voting site outside the city limits seems a bit odd. If there were truly no schools or libraries that could accommodate a contingency such as construction blocking the usual place, they could close half a block of 1 street for a day and put up a temporary tent location. But I find it hard to believe there was not a single adequate location inside the city limits.
That said, offering free rides to the voting booth also seems like at least a step towards accommodation.
Agreed. It’s not just unprofessional it’s an affront to a legitimate redress of grievances and shows a sense of hubris nobody wants to see from government.
Correct, the ACLU and LULAC may have inadvertently found a real issue here.
One polling place in a city that size is suspect, moving it out of town is also suspect. The County Clerk should have foreseen this.
The Clerk could be right on the merits, and everything about this move is on the up and up. However, I have little sympathy for them. When you move a polling place that close to an election, you should have expected a challenge. They didn’t, sucks to be them.
Exactly what rights are Latinos missing?
A lot of polling sites end up on private property (churches, lodge halls, even some garages). It is not easy to get owners to agree to host one. Compensation if any is minimal, and increasingly your building becomes the target of whackjob protests.
I’m disappointed that our ‘news’ sources haven’t shown any photographs of what caused the change. Those of us who are not there cannot know/see what the real problem is.
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