After receiving national attention due to changing its polling location, voters in Dodge City went to the polls on Tuesday bright and early.
Early reports showed 40-plus voters in line at the Western State Bank Expo Center as the doors opened.
As voters exited the facility, most said that things went smoothly.
"I was in and out at about 15 minutes," Catina Cruz said. "The only thing I didn't like was there weren't dividers separating people as they voted. Anyone could easily look over and see who you voted for."
As voters filed into the expo center, many said that there average time standing in line and voting was 16 minutes.
"It didn't take me very long at all," April Pogue said.
Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox made a statement to the press at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
One of the issues that was discussed was not allowing media inside to take photos and video, something the county clerk has allowed in past elections.
"I just feel like it is too disruptive at this time with as many press that we have here," Cox said. "It is up to the election officer at their discretion as what to allow."
Regarding the location change, Cox said there were some voters who went to the previous location at the Dodge City Civic Center to vote, but there were, "very few."
City officials had set up buses at the Civic Center location to bus people to the expo center in the event they were confused about where to vote.
At the time of her statement, Cox said that 2,638 residents in Dodge City had voted early, with 1,000 residents having voted at the expo center.
"We expect about 4,000 votes today at this location," Cox said. "I have had a lot of good comments about the location. No one has been disenfranchised at all. That was not my intention. I was looking out for the safety of the voters."
Cox said that an additional voting location would be added by 2020.
"That's my goal," she said.
The change from the Civic Center to the expo center came when William Hammond with the USD 443 school district notified the county clerk of construction that would be taking place in the parking lot of the civic center during the election.
The construction would be for the new school district administration building.
The change was met with national media scrutiny along with a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Kansas calling for the opening of a second voting location.
That lawsuit was shot down by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree, who said that adding an additional voting location within days of the election would not be in the community's best interest.
Brad Schlozman, attorney for Cox during the ACLU lawsuit, said of not allowing media into the polling locations for pictures and video, "There is to be no video or print photography inside the polling place at all since this the election and that is Kansas state law.
"I don't care what's been done, there's no today. This is the way it is, so I will not have a discussion about it."
Attorney for the Kansas Press Association Max Kautsch said of the decision, "That's insane. When there is already a precedent shown in previous elections, denying press their First Amendment right of freedom of the press is unheard of, and it is too late in the game to file an injunction."
Photos taken of the voting were taken before the press was told we couldn't shoot videos or photos inside.
To contact the writer email firstname.lastname@example.org