Dodge City, Kansas is nearly 60 percent Hispanic/Latino, according to Census data. And its all-white city commission just moved its one polling place outside of city limits. So ride-sharing company Lyft decided to help voters get to their polling place for free.
Lyft is partnering with voting rights organization Voto Latino to make sure everyone is able to reach their polling place and cast their ballots.
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) October 21, 2018
Fortune reported that Dodge City recently made the decision to move the town’s one polling place from the civic center — where voters typically go on Election Day — to a distant location more than a mile’s walk from the nearest bus stop. Fortune estimated that roughly 15 million people nationwide didn’t vote in 2016 due to not having any transportation to get to the polls.
Given that Dodge City’s population was at just 27,340 people as of 2017, with 15,730 people identifying as Hispanic or Latino, and that its mayor and city commission are all white, it’s easy to see how one could make the allegation that white elected officials are intentionally trying to suppress Hispanic votes with the relocation of the town’s polling place.
Other corporations partnering with Voto Latino are whisky maker Johnnie Walker and shoe company Steve Madden, according to the organization’s ActBlue donation page. Donors are being asked to give $15 to secure a ride for each voter.
While 27,000 people may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of Kansas’ 2018 gubernatorial election between Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Democratic state senator Laura Kelly, it’s important to remember that Kansas’ Republican primary was decided by just 110 votes. NPR reported that many prominent Kansas Republicans have endorsed Kelly, due to Kobach’s controversial history as the vice-chair of President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission (which found no evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 election).
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.