Kansas Voters Reject Constitutional Amendment That Removes Abortion Rights
Can Oklahoma Do The Same?
On Tuesday, 8-2-22, Kansans rejected a right wing ballot initiative to remove abortion access from the state constitution by a huge margin 66-34% with 316,500 voters showing up at the polls to let their voices be heard. This sets the tone for mid term elections in November. The turnout was historic in both rural and urban counties. A broad coalition of organizations and stakeholders came together to make this happen.
The Democratic Party made 30,000 calls to voters and sent 130,000 text messages to Kansas voters to mobilize and get out the vote. It worked! When women turn out to fight for abortion access- it’s a win. In the Oklahoman this week Tamya Cox-Toure, the director of ACLU of Oklahoma and co-chair of the Oklahomans Call for Reproductive Justice said that Kansans for Constitutional Freedom that urged voters to oppose the constitutional amendment have created a blueprint for states to win on abortion rights at the ballot box.
Emily Wales, President of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which serves OK, KS, AK, and MS said “We are committed to long term fights.” It is too late for an initiative petition for this November, but it could be possible in November in 2024, the Presidential election. Initiative Petition signatures are based on a percentage of votes in the last gubernatorial election 2018 which was 1,145,552. Referendum Petitions that allow citizens to refer a law that the legislature has passed to a ballot vote for voters to uphold or repeal, requires 5%. Initiative petitions collect enough signatures from registered voters to qualify for a ballot vote after turning it in to the County Election Officials and verified by the Secretary of State takes 8% of the 2018 Governor’s election. An initiative Petition for a Constitutional Change takes 15% or approximately 171,833 based on 2018. 2022 election, of course will have new numbers with the new Governor’s election.
So State Question 820 to legalize recreational marijuana turned in 164,000 signatures last month for their ballot initiative, when they needed 94,000 for it to be placed on this November election, which is being checked by the election board and verified by the Secretary of State. These requirements are stated in Title 34 of the Oklahoma Statute, Article 5 and 24 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Depending on the wording of the petition, which will take all of the coalitions to work together will determine the percentage required for voters to sign.
Organizations and stake holders may already be looking at the Kansas blueprint to determine if it may work in Oklahoma? I know that Oklahomans care about Women’s Reproductive Health, and we care about Justice, and we care about the rights and freedoms written in the Declaration of Independence, and like Kansas, if we show up, we can win.
OpEd by Krista Jones