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Signs in favor and against the Kansas constitutional amendment on abortion are displayed outside Kansas 10 highway on Aug. 1, 2022 in Lenexa, Kansas. | Kyle Rivas/Getty Images One (nearly) ironclad rule of politics is that people won’t vote for what they don’t understand. This is why name recognition is so important in state-level elections in particular.
If voters, who are usually rushing to the polls before work or trying to squeeze it in on the way home afterward, can’t understand what they are being asked to vote on, they will just instinctually vote no. This is particularly true of direct democracy-style ballot measures, such as state-level constitutional amendments.
While this isn’t the only explanation for what happened in Kansas this past Tuesday when a pro-life measure was defeated, I think it’s significant. If I was a betting man (and not a good Southern Baptist) my money would be on “mass confusion” as the primary reason behind this apparent setback for the pro-life movement in a post-Roe world.
Here is the text of the proposed “ Value Them Both ” amendment: “ § 22. Regulation of abortion. Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.” Did that make sense to you? If not, it doesn’t mean you’re slow. I’ve read thousands of pages of legislative text in my life, during my time working in Congress […]
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