LULAC Joins with ACLU in Voting Challenge
Nation’s Largest Civil Rights Organization Showdown in Dodge City, Kansas
Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Kansas is suing a Dodge City elections official in hopes of opening an additional voting place in time for the general election November 6th, announced Madaí Rivera, State Director.
Dodge City’s more than 13,000 registered voters have subsisted on a single polling place for 20 years but Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox last year decided to move that one polling place to an Expo Center outside the city limits. By comparison, the average Kansas poll site serves 1,200 voters. The lawsuit quotes Cox acknowledging in a statement she made that the Expo Center site is “not a convenient location.”
The LULAC lawsuit, filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas and naming Cox as Defendant, seeks a legal injunction to block Ford County from denying Latinos their constitutionally guaranteed voting rights. The city is one of the few majority-minority cities in Kansas.
“LULAC will not stand by silently and allow our community to be denied its right to exercise the single most important act in a democracy which is casting his or her vote in a free and fair election,” Rivera said of the suit, which also lists high school student and first-time voter Alejandro Rangel-Lopez as co-plaintiff.
It also argues that the site is not accessible by public transportation, is on average two time farther away from the city’s largest employers than the original site and requires voters to cross railroad tracks that are often blocked for 20 minutes during voting hours.
“Limiting Dodge City to a single, inaccessible polling location outside of town imposes a substantial burden on all voters,” the lawsuit said. “Restricting voting to the Expo Center will particularly impact the rights of low-income, disabled, elderly and Hispanic voters.” Rivera has said it was frustrating that after all the work organizations have done to get first-time Latino voters to the polls, the Country Clerk is now building voting barriers. The lawsuit is an important step in the continuation of that work, she said.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.