Local political activist Armando Gonzales has filed a letter of complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. Gonzales claims that the entire town of Idalou will only have three hours of early voting for the November election.
"This is unacceptable," Gonzales wrote. "The most important election of our lifetime will be the Presidential Election in November…"
Gonzales also wrote, "Lubbock County Elections Office will not have access for voters that have been historically discriminated against, have little if any political influence and have a high degree of poverty."
KCBD NewsChannel 11 looked at the early voting locations and confirmed there are only three hours early voting in the city limits of Idalou between October 22 and November 2.
Gonzales also says in his written civil rights complaint that Abernathy only has two hours. But a check of records actually reveals that Abernathy has ten days of early voting from 8 am to 5 pm. Gonzales might have meant to say New Deal where there are two hours.
Gonzales does not mention Wolfforth, where there are three hours of early voting for the election. Shallowater has four hours.
Gonzales describes the situation in his complaint as "a suppression of voting." He claimed that the problem is due in part to a desire to save money.
KCBD NewsChannel 11 put in a call to the Elections Office with the hope of getting a comment. The Justice Department gave Lubbock County pre-clearance for both the election day plan as well as early voting. The Elections Office and County Commissioners reached out to community leaders many months in advance to ask where early voting locations are needed to encourage voter turnout. The leaders of both major local parties were also included in that discussion.
The County also says "branch locations" are set up for a few hours in the smaller communities, the local hospitals, retirement communities and assisted living facilities.
"Great care is put into this and all the elections by Ms. Kennedy and her staff," said Attorney Neal Burt, Civil Division Chief of the Lubbock County CDA. "They're very in tune with the requirements of the election code at both the state and federal level. No one in Lubbock County ever wants to disenfranchise any registered voter."
Burt also pointed out that there will be an election day voting location in Idalou.
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