Coca v. City of Dodge City

Location: Kansas
Status: Ongoing
Last Update: February 20, 2024

What's at Stake

Dodge City’s (Kansas) at-large method of election for its city commission violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”) by diluting the political power of the city’s Latine community. The at-large method of election also violates the Fourteenth Amendment because it is operated with a discriminatory purpose.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Kansas, UCLA Voting Rights Project, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP filed a lawsuit challenging the at-large method of election for the city commission for Dodge City, Kansas, as violative of Section 2 of the VRA and the Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of two Latine residents of Dodge City. Even though Latines comprise 64% of the city’s total population, 59% of the city’s voting-age population, and 46% of the city’s citizen voting-age population, just two Latines have been elected to the five-member Dodge City Commission in the past three decades.

The Supreme Court has long recognized that at-large election systems like the one used in Dodge City can dilute the political power of voters of color. The court largely denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss and denied in full Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, allowing the case to proceed to trial. Trial begins on February 26, 2024.

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