NewsNationalDemocracy 2018


Volunteers travel to Dodge City, Kansas to help voters get to the polls

Posted at 3:40 PM, Nov 06, 2018

The U.S. Department of Justice is at polling locations in 19 states to ensure federal voting rights laws are being followed. There are also thousands of people with civil rights and voting advocacy groups watching the polls. One place they're concerned about voter suppression is Dodge City, Kansas.

Jose Vargas, Marilyn Horsch and Rita Schweitz all traveled to Dodge City to help voters.  

"We were really angry and thought maybe there’s something we can do to help," says Schweitz, who flew in from Denver, CO.  

They’re all here because they’re angry that the town’s polling place was moved, without much notice. They are calling it voter suppression.

“Designed to frustrate the voter, to make people give up,” says Horsch.

For years, the town’s polling place was right in the middle of Dodge City. But this year, the county election officer, citing construction projects, decided to move to a different location that is four miles away. The new location is outside city limits, and there’s no access to sidewalks and it’s cut off from public transportation.

The ACLU sued Dodge City, asking a judge to force the county to open a second polling location for the town's 27,000 residents. A judge denied the request, so the ACLU emailed election officer Debbie Cox, asking for help publicizing a voter help line.

The Wichita Eagle reported that Cox then sent that on to the Secretary of State's office, adding “LOL” to the email.

So, volunteers like Jose Vargas, Marilyn Horsch and Rita Schweitz are offering bus rides from the old location to the new one to ensure voters get to the poll. They rented a bus to shuttle voters to ensure they’d be able to cast their votes.