Views from Kansas: Bad timing on abortion vote
Editor’s Note: Views from Kansas is a regular feature that highlights editorials and other viewpoints from across the state.
The possibility of an anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution being brought before voters during the August primary election is an obviously bad and unfair idea.
First, let’s make this clear: We do not have a stance on this amendment itself. We’re watching from the sidelines and simply concerned about fairness. We’d feel this way about amendments on infrastructure, education or anything else lawmakers ask voters to decide.
And because of this, we are duty bound to point out that holding a vote like this during the primary plays right into an obviously unfair conservative advantage.
Most of the reasons why are so apparent that even partisans can agree on them, but for those playing at home or in case you missed it, here’s why the timing of this vote would be so unfair:
Abortion is a hotly contested topic with strong opinions drawn along party lines. Republicans mostly lean anti-abortion. Democrats are often pro-choice.
Kansas is one of the most conservative states in the union. As a result, the Republican primary election is often the most important election in the state on all levels by default.
The Democratic Primary often is nonconsequential and as a result, yields a low voter turnout.
Factor all of those things together and an automatic advantage goes to conservatives and those who support the anti-abortion amendment.
Essentially holding this amendment vote during the primary would be like spotting the Jayhawks an extra 80 points in basketball before they even tip off against an opponent at home. They’re not going to blow a lead like that. Neither will the voting blocks supporting this amendment.
If lawmakers want the people of Kansas to vote on this issue, and it possible they likely will, then for the love of all things wheat, get the actual will of the people. This is a topic for the general election.
Proponents of the amendment might say that the voting blocks are charged and this will get pushed through either way. That’s fine. But from our view, they still need to win the day fair and square or what is the point of voting in the first place?
Lawmakers, set this for the general election. Check your politics at the door, and let all the voters decide for themselves what abortion rights should look like in Kansas.
It’s the right thing to do. It’s the fair thing to do.
— Originally published in The Topeka Capital-Journal.