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

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

By: - July 29, 2022 11:04 am
Secretary of State Scott Schwab predicted 36% of registered Kansas voters would take part in Tuesday's primary, a substantial increase from 2018, and a reflection of interest in the proposed abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Secretary of State Scott Schwab predicted 36% of registered Kansas voters would take part in Tuesday’s primary, a substantial increase from 2018, and a reflection of interest in the proposed abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

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.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

MORE FROM AUTHOR