Yesterday was yet another primary day in several states in our inexorable march towards a depressing midterm election. Along the way, however, things didn't turn out quite the way that most people expected. Yes, I am referring to that abortion ballot referendum in Kansas.
It turns out that a majority of voters really do
care about a woman's right to choose - even in solid "red" states like Kansas. The awkwardly worded ballot initiative presuming to allow the Kansas state legislature the right to regulate women's bodies was resoundingly defeated
by a solid 20 points. Perhaps because of this initiative, voter turnout was way higher
than a normal midterm, and almost approaching a presidential election year:
In Kansas, there was hardly a contest to speak of. The "No" coalition -- which opposed a measure that would have removed abortion rights from the state constitution -- appears to be on track to win in a landslide. And it's no low-turnout fluke. The overall vote count on the amendment eclipsed 869,000 at around 1 a.m. ET.
That figure exceeded Kansas' general election turnout in the midterm year of 2010 and was approaching the 2014 total overnight. And overall primary turnout in the state two years ago -- in the midst of a presidential campaign -- clocked in at just over 636,000. In the 2018 midterm primary, the figure was lower: 457,598.
Based on how many people who filled out the two primary parties' ballots, it appears a majority of Republican party voters in Kansas want to ensure abortion remains safe and legal:
Democratic turnout was even lower -- another sign that the abortion issue transcends party lines. Fewer than 250,000 voted in the party's Senate primary and only a few thousand more punched ballots for incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who faces an uphill battle to win a second term.
This should definitely give Republicans pause. If they continue to push this issue, they may find themselves "aborted" from their state legislatures this fall. One can only hope.