The rate of female voter registration is increasing – especially in cases where reproductive rights are threatened

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June confirmed what many Americans already knew—the highly polarizing issue of abortion will continue to divide people personally and politically. But the decision also had a less predictable result: women registered to vote very high prices in several conservative states where access to abortion is limited or non-existent.

In some states, gender difference between men and women registered to vote ranged from 5% to 40%, and was higher in states where reproductive rights were more on the line. Meanwhile, states with more abortion protections saw little or no increase in female voter registration.

While it’s too soon to tell what effect this mobilization will have on the results of the midterm elections, some early results can give an idea of ​​what’s to come. In Kansas, a proposed constitutional amendment to end abortion rights failed after voters narrowly suppressed it. And in New York, Democrat Pat Ryan won a congressional seat in a highly contested district after running a campaign focused on protecting abortion rights.

Consumer information from TargetSmart, a leading data firm, to see how female voter registration has changed since the Dobbs decision, which overturned decades of legal precedent protecting abortion. State rankings for laws affecting abortion access range from Guttmacher Institute.

Voter gender data is only collected using the labels “male” and “female”, which does not mean that it is to any extent people with non-binary gender identities registered to vote. Similarly, abortion and reproductive rights affect people more than those who identify as women. For the purposes of this article, “women” refers to individuals who have indicated this choice on their voter registration materials or who have had this choice indicated by a government official.

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Americans across the country support abortion access

Public support for legal abortion is at one of the highest levels for more than 25 years, according to a 2022 Pew Research poll. A majority of Americans, even when examined by race and ethnicity, gender, age, and education level, believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. to be And while support for abortion still appears to be a partisan issue, the only groups with majorities supporting abortion bans are white evangelical Protestants and conservative Republicans.

Meanwhile, groups historically associated with anti-abortion sentiment, such as Catholics and moderate Republicans, are overwhelmingly supportive of legal abortion, indicating that opinions on the issue are shifting.

Additional polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation in June 2022 shows that two-thirds of Americans to refuse from the overturning decision of Roe v. Wade. And Republican senators mixed reception South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who proposed a federal 15-week abortion ban, points to disagreement within the party over whether and under what circumstances abortion should be illegal.

In the 10 most populous states that support legal abortion — to varying degrees — Republicans are running campaigns that range from opposing Graham’s bill to overwhelmingly supporting it.

Women in states where abortion access is most threatened are registering to vote at high rates

According to Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, the U.S. has seen a significant increase in the number of women registering to vote since the Dobbs decision was issued in June. In particular, these increases have been in states that have outlawed abortion or imposed restrictions that make access difficult.

States with a significant increase in women who are registered to vote because of Roe’s overthrow are Kansas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Ohio. This timing is not accidental; as well as an increase in women aged 18 to 49 who report that they will have an abortion “very important” in making their midterm voting decisions.

Early results of increased voter registration are surprising. In Kansas, where access to abortion is limited but still available, the vote overwhelmingly rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have completely abolished abortion rights. voter turnout numbers more comparable to a presidential election than a primary election. This participant was a strong rejection of the movement to restrict access to abortion.

The defeat of the ballot measure, which carried 59% of voters, was a surprise to Kansas residents and those outside the conservative state. And it could be a potential nationwide shift in the party’s decades-long struggle around the abortion issue. While Kansas has boasted a significant increase in the number of women registering to vote since the Dobbs decision, other states have seen increased abortion access. women mostly deregister men. On the other hand, states where abortion is already protected have not seen a significant increase in women registering to vote.

Abortion and other issues have drawn both parties ahead of the midterm elections

Midterm polls and early results show that Democrats and Republicans are motivated by different things to vote in the upcoming elections. Democrats were emboldened by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which led to a new record voter turnout that was called after Roe’s repeal and abortion. great issue this season of mediocrity. Meanwhile, most GOP voters said economic concerns, such as inflation, were their main motivations.

Democratic and Republican voters are neck and neck about them he informed enthusiastically to vote in the midterm elections – 65% of Republicans say they are “very” or “very” enthusiastic, while 62% of Democrats say the same. And while enthusiasm and new voter registration don’t always translate into more votes on Election Day, they can have powerful effects: voters can bring friends to the polls, knock on candidates’ doors, or participate in other political initiatives.

In states where abortion is prominent, more young people are also registering

In addition to the increase in the number of women to vote, young people are a well-known group low voter turnoutare also recorded unusually high standards in states where access to abortion is threatened. In Michigan, Kansas, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina, young people registered to vote, more than the increase in youth voter registration in 2018. Among young voters, young women outnumber young men.

In Kansas, more than half of the women who registered to vote after the Supreme Court overturned the ruling were younger than 25. However, the youngest voters, the recently eligible 18- and 19-year-olds, lag behind other young voters. .

Here’s what new registration means when it comes to Election Day and beyond

More women registered to vote could indicate growing support for Democratic candidates come Election Day, especially since women have historically voted at higher rates than men, and more likely to be a democrat. However, TargetSmart’s Tom Bonier is cautious about making a specific prediction.

“What we’re seeing is a change in the entire political landscape. It’s very different from the trends of the past,” Bonier Staker said. He acknowledged that youth registration also increased in 2018, particularly in response to the Parkland school shooting and the subsequent youth-led March for Our Lives movement. These registrations eventually showed up as higher turnout and increased early voting.

But voter registration rates among women and youth are even higher than the 2018 midterms. The abortion law seems to have emboldened voters more than individual candidates. “Elections where abortion is directly on the ballot, like Kansas, seem to show that effect,” Bonier said.

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