Voting rights case costs Ford County $70K so far

State News

January 3, 2019 - 10:20 AM

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A county in western Kansas has paid more than $70,000 so far to a legal firm hired to defend an official who moved Dodge City’s only polling place to outside the iconic Wild West town ahead of the November election.

Ford County paid the Hinkle Law Firm $71,481 in October and November to defend County Clerk Debbie Cox, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported, based on a document it obtained through an open records request.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Cox in late October after she moved Dodge City’s polling place, citing planned construction at the original site. The ACLU said the location, the Western State Bank Expo Center, a mile from the nearest bus stop was inconvenient for residents of the city, which has a population of 27,000 and is 60 percent Hispanic. Days before the midterm election, a federal judge rejected the ACLU’s effort to reopen the original site, but the lawsuit is continuing as the ACLU seeks to ensure Cox opens a second voting location in 2020.

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