ACLU sues Kansas county clerk to reopen previous polling site

ACLU sues Kansas county clerk to reopen previous polling site
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday sued a county official in charge of elections in Dodge City, Kan., in an attempt to get the town to open an additional voting site.

The federal lawsuit comes as the city faces increasing scrutiny after moving its only polling place outside city limits and more than a mile from the nearest bus stop. 

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The ACLU is now trying to force Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox to reopen the city’s previous polling site, according to The Wichita Eagle.

“We understand that there are people who believe voting is a privilege but we don’t. It is a right that must be fiercely protected. We can and must do better,” ACLU of Kansas Director Micah Kubic said in statement to the newspaper. 

Citing road construction and public safety, Cox moved Dodge's only polling place. But the ACLU contends that this action creates a fundamental burden for registered voters in a majority-Hispanic city.

According to the paper, the ACLU is arguing that this move disproportionately affects Hispanic voters. Hispanics make up about 60 percent of the town's population. 

Dodge City Mayor Kent Smoll said in a Facebook post earlier this week that the city would offer free transportation on Election Day to take voters to the city’s only polling place, which is inaccessible from public transportation. 

“Our citizen's accessibility to exercising their most fundamental right of voting is our utmost concern,” Smoll wrote, adding that the city agreed to provide rides to voters upon the announcement of the polling place’s relocation. 

The Associated Press reported Thursday that certificates of registration sent to newly registered voters listed the wrong address to cast ballots in November's midterm elections. 

Local election officials are reportedly in the process of informing the new voters of the error.