Election day is just weeks away, and there’s already disagreement popping up at one of the polling places people go to vote.
In Dodge City, there are 13,000 registered voters and only one polling place.
Since 1998, there’s only been one polling location in Dodge City, county clerk Debbie Cox said. The location was at the Civic Center.
However this election, it’s moving to a new location, The Western State Bank Expo, which is just outside the city limits.
“It’s limiting people’s rights to vote in the most fundamental way,” first-time voter Alejandro Rangel-Lopez said. “They can’t just make a quick trip to the polling booth.”
Rangel-Lopez said the trip is a big inconvenience, but to Kelly Knedler, it’s what he’s used to.
“We’ve always had just one spot,” he said. “I think it’s just some people are scared that it’s in a different location. So, people aren’t going to get that opportunity to vote.”
Cox said this change is because of the construction at the Civic Center and ADA concerns.
She said the Expo was the only option for a new location.
And while getting an additional polling site would make people happy, there’s not enough staff to do it.
“The lack of poll workers. It’s hard to get poll workers, and we would have to get them for each location,” she said. “Now,I have to have an equal number of bilingual poll workers as English-speaking poll workers.”
Even with the change, Rangel-Lopez said he’ll make arrangements, so his vote counts.
“I’m going to take the day off from work because I can afford to do that, luckily,” he said.
County officials said the city will be providing free public transportation to and from the polling location on Election Day.
People must call ahead at 620-371-3879.
Cox said residents can vote by mail or in-office voting, which will start October 18.
For more information about voting in Ford County, click here.