Kansas voters to decide abortion question

Advance voting begins Wednesday for the Aug. 2 primary election. All registered Kansas voters can cast a ballot on the constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to outlaw abortion in the state.

By

News

July 11, 2022 - 3:27 PM

Opponents and supporters of a constitutional amendment that would give state legislators the power to change Kansas’ abortion law demonstrate in Lawrence on June 4. Photo by (Lily O’Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade could have big implications for an Aug. 2 election for all Kansas voters. 

Tuesday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote in the election. Advance voting begins Wednesday.

At issue is a proposal to change the Kansas Constitution. A yes vote could allow lawmakers to make abortion illegal in the state.

A no vote would keep a woman’s right to abortion as protected by the Kansas Constitution.

The Kansas Supreme Court in 2019 ruled that the state constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to personal autonomy. 

That means that if lawmakers want to outlaw abortion, they must first change the constitution.

The question on the Aug. 2 ballot does just that.

The Republican-led Legislature added the amendment question to the Aug. 2 primary election and wrote the language that will appear on the ballot.

A yes vote would not automatically make abortion illegal in Kansas, but would allow lawmakers to pass laws to further restrict abortion. That could include laws that make no exemption for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.

A no vote would make no changes to the Kansas Constitution. 

Currently, Kansas has numerous restrictions on abortion:

• Kansas law prevents abortions at 22 weeks or later. No “post-viability” procedures have been performed in the state since 2018.

• The state requires a 24-hour waiting period and counseling. 

• Government funding of abortion is outlawed in Kansas, and private insurance coverage also is limited.

• A minor who wants an abortion must have consent of both parents or a legal guardian or a judge.

• Kansas law also includes strict oversight of abortion providers and faciliites, including a prohibition on telemedicine. Providers face civil and criminal penalties for violations. 

Kansas is the first state to put the question to voters after Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24. 

A 2021 study by The Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University found 60% of Kansans believe abortion should not be completely illegal in Kansas. The survey found 50.5% of respondents agree the Kansas government should not regulate the circumstances under which women can receive an abortion, while 25.4% believe the opposite.

THE Aug. 2 election may be a little different — and perhaps a little confusing.

When it comes to the abortion amendment, every registered Kansas voter can fill out a ballot. It doesn’t matter what party — if any — you have listed on your voter registration.

But voters will also decide primary election contests, and for those races, party affiliation does matter.  

Today (Tuesday) at 5 p.m. is the last day to register to vote for the Aug. 2 election. The registration books will reopen on Aug. 3. 

If you’ve never registered to vote before, you can pick Republican or Democratic affiliation in order to vote in that party’s primary.

If you’re already registered as either a Republican or Democrat, you can only vote in that party’s primary. 

If you’re not affiliated with a party, you can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, but you will have to fill out a new voter registration form when you go to vote and declare affiliation with that party.

Otherwise, if you are unaffiliated or Libertarian, you will receive a ballot with only the constitutional amendment question.

“Everybody will have a ballot this time,” Sherrie Riebel, Allen County clerk, said.

To check your voter registration status or to see a sample ballot, go to allencounty.org and click “Check Election Status.”

Allen County has 8,697 registered voters. Of those, 4,507 are registered as Republicans and 1,453 are Democrats. The rest, 2,737, are unaffiliated or third-party voters.

HOW MANY races appear on your ballot depends on party affiliation.

Among the contested state and federal races facing local voters, both Republicans and Democrats, will have primary contests for U.S. senator and governor.

Only Republicans will have primary contests for some races, including attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.

There are no contested races for local offices or the local seat on the state House of Representatives. 

In the general election, county commissioner Jerry Daniels is running unopposed for his seat. 

In Kansas House District 9, (retiring Rep. Kent Thompson’s seat) Alana Cloutier of Humboldt is running as a Democrat and Fred Gardner of Garnett is running as a Republican.

KANSANS have several options when it comes to voting.

You can vote early, in-person, until noon on Aug. 1 in the basement of the Allen County Courthouse. 

You can also vote early by mail. To do so, you must request an advance ballot and provide your driver’s license number or a copy of your photo identification. To request a mailed ballot, contact the county clerk’s office at 620-365-1407 or go to.allencounty.org/countyclerk.html

The deadline to submit advance voting applications is July 26. Ballots will be mailed to those who apply beginning July 13. All ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received in the county election office by the close of business on the Friday following the election.

You can also vote in-person on Aug. 2 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your registered polling location. 

The county has four polling stations: at the North Community Building in Iola, the Humboldt United Methodist Church, the Gas City Community Building and the Moran Senior/Community Center.

Advertisement

Related
May 5, 2022
January 29, 2021
February 10, 2020
January 30, 2020