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The Latest: Judge: Late polling site not in public interest

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, Ford County Democratic Party chairman Johnny Dunlap speaks about the party's get-out-the-vote efforts during a meeting of volunteers in Dodge City, Kan. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister has notified a federal judge that his office in Kansas plans to send a monitor to Dodge City for the midterm election. The court filing on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, comes on the same day that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree scheduled an emergency hearing to hear arguments on a request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a court order forcing Ford County to open a second polling site in the city. (Jonathan Shorman/The Wichita Eagle via AP File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the legal battle over the Kansas town of Dodge City having only one polling site (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

A federal judge says it is not in the public interest to order a western Kansas county to open another polling site in Dodge City just days before the election.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree said in a written ruling Thursday evening that the request from the American Civil Liberties Union for an order to open a second polling would likely cause more voter confusion than it might cure.

He notes the city has offered for the past 20 years only one polling location for its 13,000 registered voters. But he says that while another location might mitigate concerns about long lines during certain times, the plaintiffs have had 20 years to present that claim.

Crabtree wrote he was troubled by Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox’s reaction to an ACLU that she forwarded to the Secretary of State’s office with the comment “LOL.”

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1:45 p.m.

A federal judge has not ruled on whether a western Kansas county elections official must open a second polling site for Dodge City after moving the only site to a new location outside of town.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree had a hearing Thursday on a request from the American Civil Liberties Union for an order directing Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox to open both the old and new polling sites Tuesday.

The ACLU contends the move makes it more difficult for the city’s mostly Hispanic population to vote.

Cox testified that she moved the polling place because of a planned construction project at the old site that has yet to start. The two sites are nearly 4 miles apart.

Crabtree said he would rule soon.

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12:01 a.m.

The Kansas county clerk who moved the only polling site in Dodge City to a facility outside the city limits more than a mile from the nearest bus stop says it is not possible to add a second polling place for the upcoming election.

A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday on the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for an order forcing Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox to open a place in town where people can vote on Nov. 6.

The lawsuit contends moving the only polling site outside the city makes it more difficult for the mostly Hispanic population to vote because they tend to have less access to transportation and flexible work schedules. Cox says she had to move the polling site because of construction.

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