Dodge City is one of the few cities in the state where minorities (Hispanics, in this case) outnumber whites, mostly because of nearby meatpacking plants. But local Hispanic voter turnout in Ford County during non-presidential elections is 17 percent, compared to 61 percent turnout for white voters. Comparatively, the national turnout rate for Latino voters was 27 percent in record-low year 2014, Hegeman reports.
Voting rights activists have criticized Dodge City's lack of polling sites for years, arguing that it contributes to the town's low Hispanic voter turnout. "Hispanic voters tend to vote Democratic and could be a factor in Kansas’ tight governor’s race featuring a champion of immigration restrictions, Republican Kris Kobach, against Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly," Hegeman reports.
"Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox did not return messages seeking comment. Kansas Elections Director Bryan Caskey said Cox had no choice but to move the polling site due to the road construction, adding she did the best she could to find a suitable location," Hegeman reports. "She also contacted every voter and sent out advance voting applications in English and Spanish, he said."