Ford County committed Tuesday to opening two polling sites in Dodge City following a voting access lawsuit brought by the ACLU.
Dodge City, which has about 13,000 registered voters, had only one voting location for several years. The average Kansas polling site has about 1,200 assigned voters, according to the ACLU.
Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox moved the sole site outside city limits for the Nov. 6 midterm election because the original location was to undergo construction. The move provoked criticism from the ACLU. The organization alleged that voters, particularly the Hispanic electorate, were being disenfranchised. More than half of Dodge City's population is Hispanic.
The two new sites are located at the Hoover Pavilion, 108 4th Ave., and the Knights of Columbus Hall, 700 W. Frontview St. Cox said in an emailed notification that she will make a determination about using the original location at the Dodge City Civic Center after its renovations are finished.
Lauren Bonds, interim executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, said the announcement was a step towards the relief they are seeking.
"Whether this particular plan is sufficient remains to be seen, but it is, however a tacit admission that a single, out-of-town polling place was insufficient for the needs of Dodge City voters," she said.
Bonds said the organization will be in touch with their clients — LULAC Kansas and Alejandro Rangel-Lopez — to decide whether to proceed with the federal lawsuit.
The county has paid more than $70,000 to fight the lawsuit.
Cox said she is sending out new voter registration cards next week which will specify the proper polling site. Voters who have moved need to notify the county clerk's office to update their information.
Dodge City Transit will provide temporary bus stops in front of the polling places as well as free, door-to-door service on Election Day.
A primary election is scheduled for Aug. 6 with the general election on Nov. 5.
Voters also have the options of submitting mail-in ballots and in-person early voting.