A losing anti-abortion referendum in Kansas cranked up voter turnout by a staggering amount, flagging a massive new problem for Republicans
- Kansas voters turned out in huge numbers to defeat an anti-abortion amendment.
- The state was poised early Wednesday to reject the amendment by a margin of over 20 points.
Kansas voters turned out in droves to reject the first anti-abortion ballot measure in the post-Roe v. Wade era — and dealt a major warning sign to Republicans hoping the drastic curtailing of abortion rights nationwide won't dent their prospects in the 2022 midterm elections.
Amendment 2 was pushed by anti-abortion activists and would have eliminated the right to abortion and government funding for abortion under the Kansas Constitution. With over 900,000 votes counted as of 11:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, "no" was trouncing "yes" by 59 to 41%, a gaping 18-point margin.
The blowout defeat of the measure spells trouble for future anti-abortion ballot measures, two of which are up for a vote in November in Kentucky and Montana, and, more significantly, Republicans' hopes for muted Democratic enthusiasm and turnout for the midterms in November, which could doom many state-level elected officials who champion harsh abortion bans and restrictions.
The number of votes cast on the measure adds up to nearly three-quarters of the votes cast in the general election in 2018, when a Democratic "blue wave" washed over the midterm elections, according to the US Elections Project. That number also comes close to matching the roughly 887,00 votes cast in the general election in 2014 and the 858,000 cast in 2010 — both midterm years when the political climate largely favored Republicans.
With over 800,000 voters turning out to vote on the measure — compared with 470,000 who voted in the 2018 Kansas gubernatorial primaries — the referendum demonstrated a potent motivator for abortion-rights supporters. With the 2022 election ahead, abortion access being directly on the ballot could pose a serious problem for the GOP that it hadn't had to face in a world without Roe v. Wade's protections.
A "yes" vote on the measure would have eliminated the right to abortion under the state constitution, while the "no" vote left the constitutional protections to abortion in Kansas unchanged, preserving the status quo.
Lower turnout levels typically associated with primaries, especially in midterm elections, and a political environment favoring the Republican Party were initially anticipated to favor proponents of the amendment.
But before polls even closed, Kansas' chief election official, Secretary of State Scott Schwab, predicted that turnout in the primary was on track to surpass the 36% of the electorate the office had projected and could go as high as 50%, a notably high rate for a midterm-year primary.
—Katie Bernard (@KatieJ_Bernard) August 3, 2022
With over 99% of the votes reported, the "no" vote on the measure significantly outperformed President Joe Biden's vote share in several blue counties he won in the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, the "yes" vote underperformed and failed to crack 60% of the vote in several counties President Donald Trump won handily in 2020.
—Taniel (@Taniel) August 3, 2022
Americans' views on abortion can, in many cases, be murky and hard to parse, but polls indicated most opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, and the result of the Kansas referendum suggests strict abortion bans or "trigger laws" are often overwhelmingly unpopular among voters of both major political parties.
And when given the chance to shape abortion policy directly, Kansas voters displayed no appetite for enabling strict abortion bans after nearly six weeks of being faced with the real-world consequences playing out across the country.
The voters' decision upholds a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court establishing a right to abortion under the Kansas Bill of Rights, preserving a legal guardrail against the kind of abortion restrictions that may be passed into law if a Republican wins the governor's race in November.
It also — for now — maintains Kansas' status as a crucial access point for abortion care in the Midwest and Southwest.
- The Cybertruck's lack of door handles confused its first buyers — leading Elon Musk to show them how to open the truck
- Adani Group to invest USD 75 bn to scale up AGEL's RE portfolio to 45 GW: Gautam Adani
- OnlyFans star Riley Reid plans to 'immortalize' herself using AI. Here's how her team built her new chatbot.
- Electric eels can change the genetic composition of other organisms by shocking them!
- Exploring vibrant flavors: 10 healthy salad options in India
- 10 dry fruits to include in your daily winter diet
- Paytm to focus on big ticket loans to low-risk credit-worthy customers
- 10 Cities in India perfect for a chill and relaxed life