Abortion issue has nation’s eyes on Kansas ahead of Aug. 2 primary
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The issue of abortion in Kansas is defining the Aug. 2 primary elections in which Republicans and Democrats also decide who will represent their respective parties in races at the local, state and national levels.
Kansas will be the first state to hold a vote on the abortion issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Tuesday, Aug. 2, marks the end of the campaigns on the constitutional amendment on abortion. That has national outlets and groups putting their focus on Kansas. The one public opinion poll we have for the “Value Them Both” question shows it could be a close race between “yes” and “no” votes.
“(There are) lots of people from other states that are interested in how Kansas votes,” said Wichita State University Associate Professor and Political Science Department Chair Dr. Neal Allen.
Tuesday’s final vote on the constitutional amendment cap millions of dollars and a blanket of ads that ramped up following the Supreme Court’s June decision on Roe v. Wade. The question on ballots will determine if Kansas’ constitution should be changed to remove protections for abortion and return the power to regulate it back to lawmakers.
“This is probably the most national attention for politics that Kansas is ever going to have outside of an election where we are electing either governor or president,” Dr. Allen said.
He said part of the reason for the national interests is that what happens in Kansas cold serve as an indication of other abortion-related ballot measures in other states this fall.
“A landslide for ‘yes,’ doesn’t tell us much. A close win for ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ victory will tell us that the pro-abortion rights side can win, even in conservative and Republican-leaning places.”
That has brought in national money and national groups on both sides of the issue to Kansas. The main question Dr. Allen said heading into Election Day is, which campaign is better able to mobilize their voters.
“Amendment proponents have been preparing for this for years because of the Kansas Supreme Court decision, so we see that the ‘yes’ side had an advantage because they’re the first mover, but the ‘no’ side has caught up and might have even surpassed,” he said.
Dr. Allen said in Kansas, the abortion campaign caries over an issue for candidates in the November general election, but other topics like the economy could be seen as more important to voters.
If the vote is close, Dr. Allen said the constitutional amendment question could take some time for a clear result. Advanced, mail-in ballots must be in the mail buy Tuesday but are still counted if they arrived at the election office by Friday.
Dr. Allen said one aspect of the vote he’ll be interested to see is how the tally looks in the Wichita metro area in determining the ballot measure.
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