Secretary of state predicts surge in primary voting driven by abortion amendment

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Schwab anticipates 36% of 1.9 million registered voters to take part by Tuesday

TOPEKA — The Kansas secretary of state predicted Friday competitive races and the proposed abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution could drive an extra 200,000 voters to the polls in the primary election.

Secretary of State Scott Schwab, who faces a Republican primary challenge tied to election security issues, said 36% of the state’s 1.9 million registered voters would likely participate in the 2022 primary by the time voting ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


If Schwab’s estimate holds up, the turnout in Kansas would surpass the previous two election cycles with 702,000 votes cast. That would compare to 636,000 or 34.2% in 2020 and 487,000 or 27.1% in 2018.

So far, compared to the last off-year primary in 2018, twice as many Kansans have voted by mail and three times as many Kansans have voted in-person. More than twice as many advance voter ballots were mailed to Kansans in 2022 than in 2018.

“This voter turnout prediction is based on 2018 data because we have similar races on the ballot this year, while also keeping in mind we have a constitutional amendment driving voter interest,” Schwab said.

Schwab, who is being challenged in the primary by former Johnson County Commissioner Mike Brown, said other factors woven into the estimate included historical turnout data, advance voting data, the number of registered voters in Kansas and competitive races driving turnout.

Proponents of the constitutional amendment said it would nullify the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision that declared the Bill of Rights of the state constitution included the right to bodily autonomy, including the right to abortion.

Opponents of the amendment argue the amendment would be used to advance unreasonable restrictions on abortion in Kansas, including an outright ban on the procedure.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

Cast your ballot in the Aug. 2 election

All registered Kansas voters may vote in the Aug. 2 primary. That includes unaffiliated and Libertarian voters. To see what’s on the ballot, visit this link. For information about voting early in person, visit this link. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 2.

* We are not election workers *

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