Abortion question drives early voting in Kansas for primary

Topeka, Kan. (AP) – Early voting for next week’s statewide abortion vote in Kansas is picking up and voters are leaning more Democratic than usual so far.

More than 2½ times as many people had cast early votes as of Tuesday compared to the same point in the 2018 midterm primary, the Kansas Secretary of State’s office reported. Voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to amend the Kansas constitution to allow the legislature to further restrict or ban abortions.

Polling suggests that Democrats are stronger supporters of abortion rights than Republicans, and Democrats so far account for 42% of early voters in Kansas, compared to 44% for Republicans. Over the past 10 years, Republicans have typically voted twice as often as Democrats in primary elections. Unaffiliated voters — who cannot participate in a party’s primary unless they carry a party label — cast about 14% of the primary vote.

The Kansas vote is the first state referendum on abortion policy since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June. In Douglas County, one of the few Democratic strongholds in Republican-leaning Kansas and home to the liberal University of Kansas campus, 5,800 people have already voted in person. The typical turnout for the primary is about 2,200, said Jamie Shive, the county clerk who oversees its elections.

“Very rarely do you see an event that has such a clear impact,” said Shew, an elected Democrat.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in early July found that 33 percent of Democrats ranked abortion and women’s rights as a top issue, up from just 3 percent in 2020.

An AP-NORC poll in December showed that 69% of Democrats but only 27% of Republicans said abortion should be possible if a woman does not want to become pregnant. The same poll said 26 percent of Republicans said first-trimester abortions should always be illegal.

In Kansas, Republicans have long held a majority in the electorate. As of July 1, they made up about 44% of the state’s 1.9 million registered voters, compared to 26% for Democrats and 29% for unaffiliated voters. Also, Democrats have historically had less competitive primaries than Republicans for statewide and legislative offices, and that’s true this year. Both of those historical trends would argue for lower Democratic turnout in general.

The Republican-controlled Legislature put the anti-abortion measure on the ballot to overturn a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling that declared access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution. The measure would add language that states the state constitution does not grant the right to an abortion, allowing lawmakers to do as they see fit.

Supporters wanted the question on the August ballot, arguing that it would get the attention it deserves instead of being lost amid Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s tough run for re-election in the fall.

“We’re glad to see so many Kansans getting involved in the democratic process and hopefully educating themselves about what this amendment really is,” said Mackenzie Haddix, a spokeswoman for the main group supporting the proposed amendment. And what does it do?”

Despite the increase in early voting, fewer people are expected to vote in August than in the November general election. Scheu sent postcards to all unaffiliated voters in his county, telling them how they could vote on the amendment because they were “not used to voting in August.”

“It’s still an uphill battle for us because of that, but we’re encouraged by the energy and engagement we’ve seen from voters, not just Democratic voters,” said Ashley All, a member of the Central Coalition. The spokesman said. Measurement

Copyright © 2022 OlxPraca, LLC.

(function (d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s);
js.id = id;
js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.5”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));