Texts mislead Kansas voters about abortion amendment on ballot

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Attending to the reality in politics is difficult as it’s and it is onerous sufficient simply to get folks to vote. The very last thing we’d like is to have voters obtain direct messages telling them that voting YES on an vital poll measure will do precisely the alternative of what it would do.

But that is what has been taking place in at the least one state.

In its present election, Kansas voters are being requested to vote for or in opposition to an modification to the state’s structure that might impression abortion legal guidelines. The Worth Them Each Modification says that there is no constitutional proper to an abortion and would grant legislators the authority to control abortions. Based on NPR, it is the primary poll measure on reproductive rights within the U.S. because the Supreme Courtroom’s resolution that overturned Roe v. Wade.


The evening earlier than the election, folks in Kansas began reporting textual content messages that sounded very very similar to they got here from a pro-choice supply. “Ladies in Kansas are shedding their alternative on reproductive rights,” the texts learn. “Voting YES on the Modification will give ladies a alternative. Vote YES to guard ladies’s well being.”

Nonetheless, that is precisely the alternative of what voting sure would do. Voting sure on the modification would open the door to extra restrictive abortion legal guidelines. Voting no means preserving present laws.

The texts got here from a number of totally different 888 numbers and didn’t disclose who they got here from.

The texts are fairly clearly meant to confuse pro-choice voters into voting for the modification, telling them {that a} sure vote would defend ladies’s reproductive rights when the alternative is true. It is blatantly deceptive, however in keeping with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Fee, it isn’t unlawful.

Not solely do textual content messages about constitutional poll initiatives not require disclaimers informing receivers of who has paid for them, however there’s additionally nothing within the present statutes that addresses deceptive wording. Pretty.

Based on KMBC, the service Twilio disabled the person’s account from sending out any extra textual content messages as distributing disinformation is in opposition to the platform’s phrases of service. However the injury has already been accomplished.

Naturally, folks ought to learn the poll completely earlier than they vote and never simply comply with what some textual content tells them. Nonetheless, ballots may be complicated. Language may be obscure and/or biased, plagued by legalese or comprise muddled positives and negatives so voters aren’t all the time clear on what they’re voting for or in opposition to.

The Kansas modification measure is complicated as it’s written. Try the language used on the poll, as shared by The Guardian:

Explanatory assertion. The Worth Them Each Modification would affirm there isn’t any Kansas constitutional proper to abortion or to require the federal government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the folks of Kansas, by means of their elected state legislators, the fitting to cross legal guidelines to control abortion, together with, however not restricted to, in circumstances of being pregnant ensuing from rape or incest, or when vital to save lots of the lifetime of the mom.

A vote for the Worth Them Each Modification would affirm there isn’t any Kansas constitutional proper to abortion or to require the federal government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the folks of Kansas, by means of their elected state legislators, the fitting to cross legal guidelines to control abortion.

A vote in opposition to the Worth Them Each Modification would make no adjustments to the structure of the state of Kansas, and will prohibit the folks, by means of their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the not too long ago acknowledged proper to abortion.

Shall the next be adopted?

§ 22. Regulation of abortion.As a result of Kansans worth each ladies and youngsters, the structure of the state of Kansas doesn’t require authorities funding of abortion and doesn’t create or safe a proper to abortion. To the extent permitted by the structure of the US, the folks, by means of their elected state representatives and state senators, might cross legal guidelines relating to abortion, together with, however not restricted to, legal guidelines that account for circumstances of being pregnant ensuing from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save lots of the lifetime of the mom.

That is not a easy sure or no alternative the best way it is worded. “Would you like the state to cross restrictive abortion legal guidelines? Sure or No?” could be easy. The best way that is written, you need to unravel language that is fairly clearly written to favor the modification whereas additionally deciphering what it’s you are truly voting for or in opposition to.

The textual content messages telling pro-choice folks to vote sure as a result of it would defend alternative are 100% fallacious and nearly assuredly designed to confuse voters much more than the poll already does.

It is a good reminder to disregard political messaging and to all the time learn ballots rigorously in order that we all know what we’re voting for. Some folks will go to excessive dishonest lengths to attain a political win, so we should keep diligent as we train our civic proper, privilege and accountability.

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