Kansas abortion vote shows limits of Republicans' strength

Allie Utley, left, and Jae Moyer, center, of Overland Park, Kan., reacts during a primary watch party Aug. 2, 2022, at the Overland Park Convention Center. A notable increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a surprising shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a notable shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results.

A proposed state constitutional amendment would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortions outright. But Kansas voters rejected the measure by nearly 20 percentage points, almost a mirror of Republican Donald Trump's statewide margin over Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to repeal a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, the threat of new restrictions in the state galvanized Democrats and independents more than anticipated. At the same time, Republicans showed less interest in turning out to support the measure.

The