Midterm Voters Choose To Protect Reproductive Freedom

“Five states had abortion-related measures on their 2022 midterm ballots, and voters in all of these states seem to have sided with reproductive freedom.

In three states—California, Michigan, and Vermont—voters endorsed constitutional amendments protecting the right to an abortion, while Kentuckians voted against an amendment stating that there is no such right.”

Pot Prohibition Continues Collapsing, and Psychedelic Bans Could Be Next

“Voters on Tuesday approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri while rejecting similar measures in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Meanwhile, voters in five Texas cities passed ballot measures that bar local police from issuing citations or making arrests for low-level marijuana possession. But the most striking election result for drug policy reformers looking beyond the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition happened in Colorado, where a broad psychedelic decriminalization measure is winning by two points with 80 percent of votes counted.

Prior to yesterday’s elections, 37 states had approved marijuana for medical purposes, and 19 of them also had legalized recreational use. The Maryland and Missouri results raise the latter number to 21.”

Is post-Roe voter registration benefiting Democrats?

“Generally, voter registration is split pretty close to 50-50. It varies a little bit by state, but not much. To see a period of time over several weeks where women accounted for almost 70 percent of registered voters — I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“There’s no state that comes close to Kansas in terms of that size of the gender gap, which makes sense. I mean, Kansas seems almost impossible. But in Kansas, they also had an immediate constitutional amendment ballot initiative as a referendum on the future of choice in the state. So it would make sense that women were more energized there than they might be in other states because the pattern that seems to be holding up is that the surges in registration among women seem to be more closely connected to states where choice is more at risk or it’s more relevant to specific elections this year.”

“It’s mostly younger women. In Kansas, over half of the women who registered to vote after Dobbs were under the age of 25 — 52 percent.”

Ron DeSantis Touted the Arrest of 20 People for Illegally Voting. Some Say They Were Told They Were Eligible.

“Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R–St. Petersburg), who shepherded the bill implementing Amendment 4, tweeted last week that the Legislature never intended it to be used so harshly against those who accidentally voted.”

“”As the author of the bill implementing amend 4 it was our intent that those ineligible would be granted some grace by the state if they registered without intent to commit voter fraud. Some of the individuals did check with SOEs and believed they could register. #Intentmatters””

Ranked choice is good, but we can do better: STAR, range, and approval voting.

There are at least dozens, probably hundreds, of proposed and discussed systems for determining who wins a single winner election. Unfortunately, the most commonly used system appears to be one of the worst. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh7L9yJgVcU

The challenge of turning pro-choice Americans into pro-choice voters

“Pollsters say there are arguments in favor of abortion rights that can resonate across the ideological spectrum. The most popular messages, researchers find again and again, are those that emphasize freedom from government control, and those that stress that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor.

For the past decade, these concepts haven’t always been prominent in abortion access debates. As the procedure came under increasing attack nationwide, reproductive rights supporters mobilized Democrats and allies to stand up more forcefully for abortion access, and challenged the idea that some abortions — like in the event of rape or incest — are more worthy than others.

Rather than accept the “safe, legal, and rare” messaging popularized by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, celebrities, lawmakers, and activists have encouraged amplifying abortion stories, even, or especially, less sympathetic ones. Activists have also emphasized that messages about a “woman and her doctor” could diminish the reproductive agency of the pregnant woman herself. As feminist writer Rebecca Traister put it earlier this week, “It’s at the heart of the attitude that a person who can be pregnant… cannot simply get access to that procedure by their own damn self, without consultation or permission from anyone.”

The issue now is that, although a majority of American voters have repeatedly said they believe Roe should be upheld, roughly one-third of that majority personally opposes abortion. Those who believe abortion should be legal only in some cases primarily cite rape, incest, or a threat to a woman’s life.

Navigator Research, a group that works to provide messaging guidance to progressives, including Planned Parenthood, has conducted a few surveys on reproductive rights over the last few months: one in April before the leak of the draft Dobbs decision, one in May after it, and one following the Supreme Court’s final ruling. They found that respondents found a few consequences of the ruling especially concerning and believable: that women would have to seek unsafe abortions and that victims of rape and incest would be forced to give birth.

These ideological tensions between reproductive activists and other self-identified pro-choice people were not of huge concern when Roe was the law and defending the decision was a collective rallying point. But it makes building a coalition in a post-Roe world a more delicate balance.”

The Catch-22 Facing Black Voters At The Ballot Box

“The 2022 midterms are approaching and Black voters must choose between the Republican Party, which has actively worked against their interests for decades, and the Democratic Party, which has long struggled to meaningfully address race and racism, as well as issues important to Black voters — such as police reform and federal voting rights legislation.

The sad thing, at least for most Black voters, is it’s an easy choice. In the last 60 years or so, the Democratic Party, despite its many failures, has done far more for Black voters than the GOP. That’s why the vast majority of Black voters cast ballots for Democrats even if they aren’t necessarily liberal themselves. And therein lies the problem: Because Democratic leaders know that most Republican candidates aren’t a truly viable option for Black voters, the Democratic Party doesn’t have much incentive to court members of its most loyal constituency.

As former FiveThirtyEight senior reporter Farai Chideya wrote back in 2016, Black voters are so loyal that they’re considered “captured” — a theory put forth by Paul Frymer, a professor of politics at Princeton University, in a 1999 book titled “Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America.” In other words, they’re ignored by one major party and taken for granted by the other.

“In recent elections, there’s normally some sort of conversation around what direction Latino or Asian Americans are going to swing,” said Jennifer Chudy, a professor of political science at Wellesley University. That “reveals the predicament Black voters are in because there’s not even a curiosity surrounding what they’ll do. … And I think they’re unique in that way.””

“Black voters are “captured” not simply because most favor Democrats, but because overt appeals to them are seen as disruptive to the rest of both party’s coalitions. But other voting blocs don’t necessarily experience the same thing. So, for example, Republicans can court white evangelicals because direct overtures to this group — for example, promoting anti-abortion policies, Christian values or legislation against transgender students and athletes — won’t turn off a majority of Republican voters. Certain civil rights issues that would have the greatest impact on Black voters, in contrast, are seen as too taboo to promote because being pro-Black is often conflated with being anti-white. As a result, politicians on both sides of the aisle often ignore Black voters’ concerns because they don’t want to take steps that would either turn off white voters or make it seem like they’re disrupting the existing racial hierarchies of power where white people are at the top.”