Concerns of voter suppression surround midterm election as Latinos turnout to vote

DODGE CITY, Kansas — A fresh “I voted” sticker gleaming on his leather jacket, Pedro Hernandez smiled shyly as his friends and neighbors steadily filed past into the cavernous polling site in this windswept former frontier town.

After decades as a legal resident of the United States, Hernandez, 53, voted Tuesday in his first election before starting his job at a nearby slaughterhouse. Hernandez said he was spurred to become a citizen after watching the nation’s politics change.

“It was easy,” he said speaking in Spanish through a translator as cattle trucks roared past. “It was my first time and I was a little nervous, but I wanted to vote because now I’m a citizen.”

Activists warned for weeks that voters like Hernandez might struggle to vote in Dodge City after elections officials moved the city’s longtime and only polling location three miles away, a mile outside the city boundary, making it harder to get to. Officials said road construction — which hasn’t yet started — prompted the move. 

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