An unprecedented number of Kansans on Tuesday voted against a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to repeal abortion protections. It’s a major victory for women’s rights, but the outcome also carries major implications for nationwide elections in November. This is especially true in those states where abortion rights are on the ballot after overturning Roe vs. Wade and where the Democrats are trying to stay in power.
The opposite of what thought some conservativesabortion is an issue that can mobilize voters.
More than 900,000 Kansans went to the polls to vote on the state’s abortion referendum. That’s the largest turnout for a primary election in state history, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. That number is closer to what we would expect to see in a general election, which is always significantly higher than a primary. And it suggests that we could also see high turnout in the upcoming primaries where abortion is at issue.
Known as “It’s Worth It Both,” the amendment would remove constitutional protections for abortion stemming from a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. Nearly 60 percent of Kansas voters this year voted against the amendment — or for abortion rights — while about 40 percent voted in favor for him. That gap is wider than expected in a state where polls have shown an even split between those who support abortion and those who oppose it. Nationally, Americans overwhelmingly support access to abortion in some cases.
What is perhaps most surprising about the referendum is that it took place in a very Republican state. Only a a quarter of registered voters in Kansas are Democrats, while 40 percent are Republicans. Almost a third are unaffiliated.
In the last general election, Kansas, as it has for decades, went for the Republican candidate. But in Tuesday’s election, in every single district, a referendum is being voted on were to the left of where they were in the 2020 presidential electionaccording to a Washington Post analysis of Kansas Secretary of State data.
The referendum seems to have singled out women in particular, who are thought to be most affected by abortion laws. As Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic data firm TargetSmart, pointed out, the share of new registrants in Kansas who were women rose sharply after news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. Dobbs decision.
The Dobbs decision engaged women in Kansas to an unprecedented degree.
This graph shows the percentage of new registrants in the state that were female (7-day average). Note the jump after the Dobbs decision was leaked, and the huge jump after it was handed down by the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/pvi3WpuR86
— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 3, 2022
In Kansas, this issue drew a record number of voters. Even Republicans may have voted for abortion rights. Now the question is whether people across the country will come out on this topic as well.