On Tuesday, an unprecedented number of Kansan voted against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to end protections against abortion. This is a great victory for women’s rights, but the result also has important implications for the national elections in November. This is especially true in those states where the right to abortion is in a run-off after the overturn Eggs against Wade and where the Democrats are trying to stay in power.
Contrary to what some conservatives had thought, abortion is a problem that can mobilize voters.
More than 900,000 Kansans turned out to vote in the state referendum on abortion. This is the largest primary election participation in the state’s history, according to the office of the Kansas Secretary of State. That number is closer to what we would expect to see in a general election turnout, which is always far superior to the primary. And it suggests that we may also see a high turnout at the upcoming primaries where abortion is scheduled.
Known as “Value Them Both,” the amendment would have removed constitutional protections for abortion that came from a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. Nearly 60 percent of Kansas voters this year voted against the amendment. – or in favor of the right to abortion – while about 40 percent voted in favor. That margin is higher than one would expect in a state where polls have shown a uniform divide between those who support abortion and those who are against it. Nationally, in some cases, Americans overwhelmingly support access to abortion.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the referendum vote is that it took place in a very republican state. Only a quarter of registered voters in Kansas are Democrats, while 40% are Republicans. Almost one third are not affiliated.
In the last general election, Kansas, as it has done for decades, chose the Republican candidate. But in Tuesday’s primary, in every single county, the referendum votes were to the left of what they were in the 2020 presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis of Kansas Secretary of State data.
The referendum in particular seems to have brought out women, considered the most affected by abortion laws. As Tom Bonier, CEO of a Democratic data company TargetSmart pointed out, the share of new Kansas registrants who were women has skyrocketed after the U.S. Supreme Court news. Dobbs decision.
Dobbs’ decision has involved women in Kansas to an unprecedented degree.
This graph shows the percentage of new registrants in the state who were women (as an average of 7 days). Notice the spike after Dobbs’ decision leaked and a huge leap after the Supreme Court passed it. pic.twitter.com/pvi3WpuR86
– Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 3, 2022
In Kansas, the issue has raised a record number of voters. Republicans could also have voted for the right to abortion. The question now is whether people across the country will turn out for this problem as well.