Decision on Abortion, Laws Boosting Women in Congressional Midterm Elections | Local elections


Nationally, the number of women registering to vote in the Nov. 8 midterm elections has exploded like a rocket — boosted, experts say, by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the ‘abortion.

Louisiana doesn’t appear to be following suit, but Kansas, Ohio, Arizona, Idaho and other conservative strongholds are reporting notable increases in women’s voter registration since the June 24 ruling. , according The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other national press organs. Battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan are also showing increases.

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization allows states, if they choose, to significantly restrict access to abortions.

Just a few months ago, Republicans expected to waltz into the US House majority, taking about 25 seats, possibly more, according to the analysis, and the US Senate by a few seats.

Historically, midterm elections have tended to be referendums on the ruling party. This year, with inflation at its highest level in 39 years and interest rates rising, the GOP expected to do the same, after Charlie Cooka Shreveport native and publisher of the respected Cook Political Report, which tracks and handicaps congressional races across the country.

“For over a year, Republicans wanted this election to be about Biden. Until very recently, it was going to be,” Cook wrote in a column on Labor Day, the traditional start of a federal election. He noted other changes like lower gas prices, the adoption of a popular bill wad, and unsavory revelations about former President Donald Trump and some of his supporters.

But the reaction to the abortion ruling is playing a major role in energizing women, Democrats and some independents, Cook and other national experts said. It’s not so much the Dobbs decision, but the “trigger laws,” particularly those that ban abortion without exception for victims of rape and incest and for fetuses with life-threatening abnormalities.

“The August 2 firm rejection of a referendum that would have allowed the GOP-controlled legislature in ruby-red Kansas to ban abortion underscored that the ground had changed,” Cook wrote.

Katie Bernhardt, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, also singled out Kansas as an indicator of changing abortion policy among women of all parties and faiths.

“I’ve had Republican women reach out and say they’re going to vote Democrat in this election,” Bernhardt said. “We are seeing women energized like never before.”

In Louisiana, only U.S. Representative Clay Higgins, the Republican Lafayette vying for his fourth two-year term, has anything close to a well-funded opponent. Despite more intense opposition, Higgins should win easily in Acadiana.

The other five incumbents – House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson; US Representatives Troy Carter, D-New Orleans; Mike Johnson, R-Benton; Julia Letlow, R-Start; and Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge — are also listed as likely winners in the same national scoring lists that have moved other races from “lean over” to “toss-ups.”

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, has three prominent but poorly funded Democratic opponents. The junior senator also has tens of millions of dollars in his campaign war chest and high approval ratings, and he makes frequent appearances on Fox News saying things his constituents love to hear in a national forum.

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However, grassroots organizations are noticing that voters are much more interested in the November 8 elections.

“Usually, midterm reviews are low energy and attract little attention,” noted Ashley K. Shelton, head of the Power Coalition, a New Orleans-based advocacy group. “This particular midterm, because of Dobbs, because of high electricity bills and because of other issues, has concentrated a lot of voters in a way that we haven’t seen. It won’t just be a walk for the incumbents.

Members of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice split among the hookers during Saturday’s game between Southern University and LSU to register voters. And that group is just one of half a dozen others holding voter registration events in September, Shelton said.

“There will be record attendance. There are a lot of people driving this time around,” said Jackie Jones of the Jeremiah Group, a community group in Jefferson Parish that organizes voter registration events.

Louisiana has seen some increase in voter registration, but those effects have been mitigated by the steady decline in the number of Louisianans willing to do what needs to be done to participate in elections.

From May 1 — a draft Dobbs ruling leaked May 2 — through Wednesday, the Louisiana secretary of state’s office counted 30,275 new registered voters, 54.7% of whom were women.

This represents about 5,000 more women than those enrolled in the same May-September period in 2021. But gender-based ratios have remained constant as they have been for the past decade, with women representing about 55% of the total number of voters.

The number of registered voters in Louisiana has declined over the past 18 months by 84,980 voters, to 3,006,527 on Sept. 1, according to records from the secretary of state’s office, with men and women declining proportionally.

“I don’t think we’ve seen much of an impact from Dobbs,” said Louisiana Republican Party Leader Louis Gurvich. “Our numbers have gone up a bit since the decision was made.”

Over the past year, the number of registered Democrats has fallen by 28,063 registered voters, while Republicans have lost 2,674 registered voters. Only registered voters with no party affiliation have increased their numbers over the past year – by 6,224.

The Secretary of State’s office noted that since May 2021, Hurricane Ida has made landfall, prompting more people to join in the steady decline in emigration.

“One thing to note is that we already have a disproportionate share of women enrolled. … We hit a ceiling, so to speak,” said Peter Robins-Brown, executive director of Louisiana Progress, a Baton Rouge-based community organizing and advocacy group.

“We also had a lot of emigration to a state with regressive policies that particularly hurt women. I don’t have any data, but empirically, women move. I hear that so much.”


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