With the way that things are going in Dodge City, Kansas and North Dakota it appears that Trump’s America is thriving. I will start by addressing the problem in Dodge City, Kansas. Dodge City recently moved its polling place that accommodates some 13,000 plus voters out of the city limits and to a remote area that is miles outside of the city limits and more than a mile from the nearest bus stop. Why? The County Clerk said that it is due to ongoing construction at what was the location inside the city limits that is blocking the area and that would make it extremely hard and dangerous for voters to access the polling area where they would need to cast their ballads.
To make this obvious attempt at covert voter suppression even more obvious, upon receiving a letter from the ACLU expressing concern about the closing of the existing polling place and asking that another one be opened inside the city limits, instead of responding to the ACLU, the County Clerk emailed a copy of the ACLU letter to Secretary of State/candidate for Governor Kris Kobach’s office, which included the expression “LOL”, in essence expressing that she found it funny and ridiculous that the ACLU would even bother to make any request of her that would make voting easier for voters under her auspices. When Mr. Kobach was asked by reporters as to whether he could assist in any way to correct the problem he said that it was not something that he could address because it was in the hands of the County Clerk. Well isn’t that special?! Mr. Kobach is the Kansas Secretary of State and he can’t do anything to address the problem because it is in the hands of the County Clerk?! Give me a break!
Because the MSNBC Rachael Maddow Show had been following the problems that voters in Dodge City, Kansas were experiencing concerning casting their ballads for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, its employees had been trying to reach the Dodge City County Clerk but were unable to get a response. Because they were unable to get a response, the show sent a small team to Dodge City to try to assess the situation and get details on exactly what the problem was. When the team arrived and researched the problem they found that not only was the new location much harder to reach and plagued with a large amount of large truck traffic, but the old location was not blocked by construction at all. As a matter of fact, the team found that there are major large events that will be taking place at the site that was closed to voters just days before Election Day and others that will be occurring just days after Election Day: Go figure.
When the ACLU asked the court to intervene to address this problem and stop this obvious attempt to put up roadblocks that would make it harder for voters to vote – or even worse, actually prevent them from voting, the judge refused to do so. In support of his decision not to intervene he stated that if the court intervened at this stage, it would only confuse matters more and make things worse if a change was made due to the close proximity of the actual Election Day to such a decision.
The situation in North Dakota is basically the same as that in Dodge City with the exception that instead of moving the polling place to make it harder for voters to vote, North Dakota abruptly changed the voter ID requirements. North Dakota decided that all voters must have a residence address rather than a post office box in order to vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018. Although virtually all voters who live on a reservation in North Dakota do not have a residence address but have always been allowed to vote in the past, including in elections just prior to the subject (November 6, 2018) midterm elections, they have now been told that they cannot vote in the November 6th midterms unless they have a residence address. When the court was asked to intervene and prevent this overt attempt to prevent voters from voting, the response was the same as that given to the Dodge City plaintiff’s request. The court stated that it was too near to Election Day for them to intervene because its intervention would cause more problems than it would resolve.
Although it is blatantly obvious that Dodge City, Kansas and North Dakota are openly working to block Americans with the right to vote from voting, today – in Trump’s America, the courts are simply winking at it and allowing it to happen. There is no doubt that the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the US Supreme Court has emboldened those organizations and people who espouse this agenda and that this Supreme Court decision has positively impacted on cities and states decisions to move forward with these un-American like choices. Although it is extremely disappointing that the very entities that are in place to enforce this law and help assure that something that is a core value of our democracy, that is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States of America and that is an intricate part of the foundation on which America was established is winked at by those who staff them, we must not lose hope. Neither must we be discouraged or deterred! Americans must continue to press forward to unite our country and prevent it from being divided…by anyone!
The 2018 midterm elections are extremely important to all Americans because we are at a fork in the road and, as American voters, we must take the first step in determining what path forward America will take. Will it be the path toward tribalism, division and hate or will it be the path toward togetherness, unity, and love for one another? The only true and meaningful way that any American can be an integral part of making this choice is through their vote. So it is from this perspective that I implore all Americans to vote in this election and further implore you to, value your franchise, and vote in all elections. It is from this same perspective that I say to you that this is arguably the most important election in our lifetime. So always remember, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line