Sep 6, 2022 - News

Roe v. Wade reversal spurs female voter registration

A woman casts a ballot in Ohio.

A woman casts her ballot in Ohio's May 2022 primary election. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Women make up a majority of newly registered Ohio voters in the months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a review of voter data by the New York Times finds.

Why it matters: The increase shows abortion to be a politically salient issue among female voters, which could impact future elections here.

The big picture: Ohio is among several states that have recorded noticeable upticks in female voter registration since a draft of the Court's decision to eliminate constitutional protections for abortion was leaked in May, per NYT.

  • Women made up approximately 47% of Ohio's newly registered voters in the months before the leak, compared to 54% since then ā€” the second-highest jump of any state recorded, behind Kansas.

Yes, but: This is just an estimate using computer models to categorize voter registrants by gender via their names.

  • Ohio does not ask voter registrants for their gender and therefore doesn't keep official track of those statistics, two spokespersons for the Franklin County Board of Elections and Ohio Secretary of State tell Axios.

State of play: The increase in voter registration comes as Ohio has begun enforcing its law restricting abortion access after cardiac activity is detected, or about six weeks of pregnancy.

  • A Suffolk University/USA Today poll of likely Ohio voters from May found abortion to be the second-most important election issue here, behind the economy.
  • A majority of voters said Ohio lawmakers should move to protect abortion rights in the state.

What we're watching: The impact of female voter registration and turnout in Ohio remains to be seen. These new registrations make up a tiny fraction of all voters, NYT points out.

  • In Kansas, which saw a major jump in registration after Roe was overturned, voters rejected a public referendum last month that would have removed abortion protections from the state's constitution.
  • There are no abortion issues on Ohio's November ballot, though a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights may appear in a future election, reported.
  • The uptick could benefit Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley, who seeks to become the first woman elected as governor of the Buckeye State.

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