Ford County taxpayer total nearing $100k to defend clerk in voting case

FORD COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) The total price to defend Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox in a voting rights lawsuit is nearing $100,000. That bill goes to taxpayers in the county.

Ford County Counselor Glenn Kerbs confirmed the county received another bill from Wichita-based Hinkle Law Firm for $20,508. That bill is for December and is in addition to the already more than $70,000 bill the county paid.

Kerbs said he expects new bills to come in 2019 as the lawsuit is still ongoing.

Cox was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union over polling place location issues. Cox said the county moved the city's only polling place to the Expo Center, south of town, because of scheduled construction at the old polling location.

But the ACLU filed a lawsuit after hearing some voters got mail listing the Civic Center, which was the old polling place.

The ACLU asked the court to re-open the Civic Center as a second voting location, claiming the new location was less accessible for the elderly, physically disabled, low-income, and Hispanic voters.

In its filing, Ford County said it's impossible to set up a new location.

The county also said it didn't have enough manpower to organize, staff, and prepare a new polling location on such short notice. When November's mid-term elections came, Ford County only had the new location open.

Hinkle Law Firm filed a motion to dismiss the suit on behalf of Cox saying the ACLU's claims were baseless.