Elections 101

August 2nd
Amendment
Explained

On August 2nd, every registered Kansas voter will have a constitutional amendment on their ballot. This might be new to you – especially if you’re an unaffiliated or independent voter – but don’t let that stop you from having your voice heard!

 

 Here’s what you need to know:

All voters can participate – including Unaffiliated and Independent voters.

A vote NO preserves your right to an abortion in the Kansas Constitution, subject to current restrictions.

A vote YES removes your right to an abortion from the Kansas Constitution opening the door for a total abortion ban.

Download Printable Explainer.  Full Amendment Language

WHAT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT?

A constitutional amendment seeks to modify the current Kansas Constitution. Amendments to the Kansas constitution must be passed by a majority of registered Kansas voters, which is why they end up on your ballot. In these situations, you will be asked to vote either “YES” or “NO.”

A “YES” vote changes the Kansas Constitution. A “NO” vote keeps the Kansas Constitution the same.

WHAT IS THE AUG 2nd CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ABOUT?

The proposed amendment on the August 2nd ballot will impact reproductive healthcare in Kansas. 

The state constitution currently protects a person’s right to make personal health decisions, including about abortion, within certain restrictions. Learn more here.

If passed, the proposed constitutional amendment would remove these rights and put the personal reproductive healthcare decisions of Kansans in the hands of legislators. It would also open the door for a total abortion ban.

WHO CAN VOTE ON THIS AMENDMENT?

Any Kansan who is registered to vote by July 12, 2022 can and should vote on this constitutional amendment! ALL VOTERS, even Unaffiliated and Independent voters, can and should vote on August 2nd.

If you typically don’t vote in primary elections, you can find out how to vote here. This is NOT the year to sit out!

I DON’T USUALLY VOTE IN PRIMARIES? WHY IS IT ON THE AUGUST BALLOT?

The Kansas Legislature voted in 2021 to put this constitutional amendment on the 2022 August primary ballot. 

Here at the Voter Network, we are concerned that such a monumental decision was put on a primary election ballot. We know that primary elections are among the worst attended elections in the state, with typical turnout sitting around just 30%. And, we know that those who vote in primary elections are typically whiter, wealthier, and older than our state as a whole.

On top of this, we know that voting in a primary election will be unusual  for the 30% of registered Kansas who identify as Unaffiliated or Independent. (More than 110,000 voters in Johnson County alone!)

Voting by mail is a great option for these trickier elections where you might want time to read over your ballot and do research. It is also a great option for those that don’t typically vote in primary elections. You don’t need to worry about missing election day, your ballot comes straight to your mailbox. Sign up to vote by mail at KSVotes.org.

We know it is going to take a lot of work to get people to the polls on or before August 2nd, but it’s important. Any change to our state’s constitution should reflect the voices of the residents as a whole – not just the few who typically vote in primary elections. We’re working hard to make sure everyone knows their rights are on the ballot August 2nd! You can join us and mobilize your own friends at votertovoter.org

WHAT WILL I SEE ON MY BALLOT?

There will be quite a bit of text on your ballot explaining this amendment. Here’s the official statement you will see on Election Day – we highlighted and bolded some text for clarity.

“§ 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.”

“Explanatory Statement The Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion, including, but not limited to, in circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother.

“A vote for the Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion. 

“A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no changes to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.”

All of this official language might seem intimidating! Don’t worry. Boiled down, it is pretty simple:

A NO vote on this amendment would preserve your right to make personal healthcare decisions, like having an abortion, for yourself.

A YES vote would remove your right to make personal healthcare decisions, like having an abortion, for yourself.

WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE IMPACTS OF MY VOTE?

This vote is a big one, especially considering the loss of federal protections for abortions. Residents’ access to reproductive health care, like safe, accessible abortions, could be determined completely at the state-level in the near future. This amendment will pave the way in determining what those options are for Kansans. 

A vote NO would preserve our rights currently outlined in the Kansas constitution. Abortion is already heavily regulated in Kansas, and a NO vote would keep these regulations in place. 

A vote YES would leave decisions about our reproductive rights in the hands of the Kansas State Legislature. It would not immediately ban abortions in Kansas, but it would allow for a total ban on abortion to occur.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE?

https://www.cjonline.com/story/opinion/2022/03/24/kansas-voters-get-say-abortion-august-2022/7148080001/

https://ballotpedia.org/Kansas_No_State_Constitutional_Right_to_Abortion_and_Legislative_Power_to_Regulate_Abortion_Amendment_(August_2022)

https://www.cjonline.com/story/opinion/2022/03/24/kansas-voters-get-say-abortion-august-2022/7148080001/