TOPEKA, (KSNT)- “Vote yes” and “Vote no” signs are lining neighborhood streets in Kansas, as people get ready to vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment in August.
In some parts of the state capitol, the primary ballot issue is also causing a divide among neighbors.
“I feel like it’s pretty split…” John Shroer said from Topeka. “You have people that feel one way or another on the issue. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen.”
In some Topeka neighborhoods, “Vote Yes” signs are posted on front lawns and bumpers. But, just a few blocks down, you can see signs that say “Vote No,” urging lawmakers to keep their “hands off of their rights”.
For some, there’s confusion over what the “yes” and “no” means.
Political analyst Bob Beatty said a “Vote Yes” is not an automatic ban on abortion, but it would leave the future of abortion rights in state lawmakers’ hands.
“The entire issue would go to the Legislature,” Beatty said. “It would be out of the hands of the state supreme court, and whatever the Legislature wanted to do, they could do.”
Currently, the state constitution recognizes the right to an abortion.
Beatty said if the “Value Them Both” amendment passes, then lawmakers could decide to do nothing, which would leave the state constitution intact. However, he said it’s likely that they could pass legislation virtually banning abortion in the state.
A “no” vote will mean that the state constitution will stay the same and continue to recognize the right to an abortion. It could also open the door for people from other states with abortion bans to come to Kansas.
The vote on the Value Them Both amendment will take place on August 2 in the Primary Election.
Voters can vote on the amendment regardless of their party affiliation. But first, they have until Tuesday, July 12, to register to vote in the Primary Election.
Beatty said the primary election is usually a time when voter turnout is low, but this year, we could see more people at the polls.
“High turnout in a primary is around 40-some-odd percent,” he said. “So, the potential here is possibly the highest turnout in Kansas history. This is the most vibrant primary season that I’ve ever seen.”
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office told the Kansas Capitol Bureau that as of Thursday, the total number of voter registrations since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is 14,678.
“There is always an increase in registration right before an election. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a lag between when registrations arrived at the office and when they were entered on ELVIS (Election Voter Information System).”Whitney Tempel, Kansas Secretary of State’s Office
The Secretary of State’s Office plans to release updated voter registration numbers following the deadline next week.