Kansas voters rejected the so-called Value Them Both constitutional amendment, according to the Associated Press.
The Topeka Capital-Journal will provide reaction and analysis as soon as we have it.
Voter turnout in Kansas has been extremely high, with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office having already announced that it will squash its projected turnout of 36%.
Secretary of State Scott Schwab told reporters that turnout could rival the 2008 general election, when President Barack Obama was on the ballot. This election had about 60% turnout.
“Voter engagement is very high,” he said.
Interest was high in the amendment that could change the future of post-Roe abortion access for the state and region.
After:Election results for the Kansas primary races
Results: 2022 Kansas Constitution Amendment on Abortion
Years of work by abortion advocates culminates today as voters check “yes” or “no” on a proposed constitutional amendment that could give Kansas lawmakers virtually unlimited authority to regulate the procedure.
After:In decisive abortion rights victory, Kansas voters reject constitutional amendment in first post-Roe vote
While the amendment required a two-thirds majority to pass both houses of the Kansas Legislature, it only needed a simple majority of Kansas voters to pass.
Polling data has been difficult to obtain, with both campaigns reluctant to share internal polling results. The only public abortion amendment poll has 47% yes votes, 43% no votes and a margin of error of 2.7%.
The poll, conducted by Kansas City, Mo., co/effective firm, suggests a close race.
Millions of dollars have been spent influencing voters on the so-called Value Them Both amendment. Supporters of the “yes” side slightly exceeded spending on the “no” side, $6.7 million versus $6.4 million, according to campaign finance statistics from mid-July. The largest opposition group raised more money than the primary coalition supporting the constitutional amendment.
While some advocates on both sides have been careful to analyze their remarks, numerous television and digital advertisements and other public communications have false or misleading statements. A delay falsely characterized text message explosion what a “yes” vote means. The group behind the text did not identify themselves.
After:What will happen if Kansas voters pass — or don’t pass — a constitutional amendment on abortion?
Voters lament misinformation around constitutional amendment
Melanie Wambsganss, a retiree and Democratic voter at the Fairlawn Plaza polling station, said she was appalled by what she said was misinformation surrounding the constitutional amendment issue. She was one of many Kansas voters who received an anonymous mass text message on Monday urging her to vote yes to protect women’s reproductive rights.
Wambsganss said Tuesday was a chance for Kansas, a traditionally red state, to demonstrate progress by rejecting the constitutional amendment.
“It would show that America is willing to make Roe v. Wade permanent law, rather than anything,” she said. “It could show that Kansas is ready to move forward with progress, not just on this issue, but on other areas as well.”
Unlike typical elections, where churches are prevented by their religious tax-exempt status from championing candidates, there was no standing in the way of churches leading the grassroots voter turnout effort.
But churches and any other places serving as polling stations on election day had to remove signs supporting the amendment or ensure they were within the legally required distance from the entrance. Violators could violate state election law.
In Topeka, a large sign encouraging people to “vote yes” on the constitutional amendment was removed as voting began on Tuesday from where it stood near the polling station at Hayden High School, 401 SW Gage Blvd.
Debate over the amendment has largely centered on whether it bans abortion, which polls show is an unpopular position.
The amendment itself does not prohibit abortion. But it would give lawmakers much greater constitutional authority over abortion policy, including a potential ban. Leading Republican politicians and anti-abortion lobbyists have avoided answering if they will pursue a ban if the amendment is adopted.
After:Get texts on the Kansas abortion constitution amendment? Here’s what a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote means.
The Kansas Speaks survey, conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University, previously found that 60% of respondents oppose the ban on abortion in all cases.
That poll was released in February, months before a U.S. Supreme Court leak and a possible ruling reversing the abortion rights ruling in Roe v. Wade.
The draft notice disclosed in early May and the Dobbs decision in late June galvanized public interest in questioning the right to abortion.
Kansas is the first statewide referendum since that ruling, garnering national attention. Voting is also of regional importance because Kansas clinics treat out-of-state patientsespecially from Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Voter registrations have increased in recent months with the leak of the Dobbs draft decision. More recent data covering the month following the decision at the end of June has not yet been released.
Republicans enjoy a sizable advantage among registered voters, outnumbering Democrats by more than 350,000. But unaffiliated voters are an important group that could influence the election, although independents are not used to voting in August.
Voter registration data through July 1 showed an increase of 1,449 registered Republicans since April. Democratic registrations rose by 1,984, Libertarians by 555 and unaffiliated voters by 8,389.
Jason Tidd is a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Tidd.
Tim Hrenchir and Rafael Garcia of The Capital-Journal contributed reporting.