Dodge City activists opened eyes to racial bias



September 24, 2019 - 10:22 AM

We’re in the midst of National Hispanic Heritage month, and activists will be receiving an important honor on the first Saturday of October. At the Kansas ACLU’s annual Free State Forum, the honorees will include “League of United Latin American Citizens and high school senior Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, who successfully advocated for equitable access to the ballot in Dodge City.”

It can be easy to forget what happened nearly a year ago in Dodge City. The city’s sole polling site was moved to an expo center outside of town. Activists raised alarms over access, and for a short time the dispute became a national story.

Dodge City’s population is more than 60 percent Hispanic or Latino, so the story wasn’t just about a polling place. It was about who could get to the polls. It was about whose voice — and whose vote — counted. While it might seem simple to white people to drive to an expo center, if someone doesn’t have a car or access to easy public transportation that trip isn’t so easy.

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