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.
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