Dodge City, KS, has a population of 27,000, and one polling place. Even worse, that polling place was just moved outside of city limits, and according to the Associated Press, newly registered voters in Dodge City were sent an official certificate telling them to cast their vote at the wrong location.
“I didn’t know this could get worse, and it did: ‘Hey, let’s move the site and not tell new registrants where they are supposed to go,’” Johnny Dunlap, chairman of the Ford County Democratic Party, told AP.
The one polling location is now both outside of city limits and one mile from the nearest bus stop. The official certificate new voters received in the mail didn’t list this temporary polling place, but instead listed the same location that’s been used for nearly 20 years, at the civic center in the majority white part of town. After years of immigration, Latinxs now make up the majority of the Dodge City population.
Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey admitted that the notices were “confusing,” and said he told Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox that she needed to “inform the voters.” He added that the county is sending another notice to affected registrants. [...]
Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said in an emailed statement it has no control over the decisions of most Kansas counties, with the exception of the state’s four largest counties where he appoints the election commissioners.
“That’s why you see such a good distribution of polling places in those four counties,” said Danedri Herbert, spokeswoman for Kobach.
Kobach, the current Republican gubernatorial candidate in Kansas, is notorious for his voter suppression tactics.
“Dodge City has had a longstanding problem with voting accessibility,” Ethan Corson, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, told AP. “Even previous to this there was a significant problem with the one polling location they do have being located in the predominantly white area of town next to the country club.”
“We are doing everything we can think of and putting as many hours as we can with as many volunteers as we can just to try to mitigate this thing as much as possible,” Dunlap told AP.
Thanks to the publicity around Dodge City’s broken voting infrastructure, volunteers are pouring into the town. Over 600 volunteers say they’ll be in the city to give rides to voters on election day. Last week, Lyft announced they were partnering with the organization Vote Latino in an attempt to make voting in Dodge city more accessible. City officials also said they will extend bus routes to the polling place on election day.