The Washington Post identified at least nine states in which the outcome of key midterm races has the potential to directly affect abortion laws, with many voters getting their first opportunity to cast ballots since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June.
I just checked in with my sources who are monitoring the Ariz. state legislature. They say it's too early to tell how the chambers are going to swing, with the tallies close and votes still coming in.
• Nov. 10 at 11:28 a.m.
Republican leaders begged candidates to avoid rigorous antiabortion positions without exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, according to new Post reporting. “Stakeout common ground with a majority of Americans who support exceptions,” read a September RNC memo, a sentiment Trump echoed at his rallies.
North Carolina Republicans failed to win a veto-proof legislative supermajority, ensuring that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will still have the power to block abortion restrictions in a state that has become a critical access point for people seeking abortions across the Southeast.
Just published: Voters across the country delivered a series of decisive victories for abortion rights on Tuesday in the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Michigan Democrats have plans if they flip control of the state legislature. State Sen. Mallory McMorrow told The Post the chamber would seek to repeal the state’s 1931 pre-Roe abortion ban even if the ballot measure passes.
What's so striking about the ballot initiative returns we're seeing out of Kentucky is how much they differ from results for statewide Republicans. Sen. Rand Paul (R) secured a decisive victory early in the night -- which means a lot of Republican voters did not support the antiabortion amendment.
• Nov. 9 at 3:31 a.m.
AP projects Michigan's Proposal 3 on reproductive freedom will pass, enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution.
Judging by what we’ve seen so far, it seems abortion helped blunt what might otherwise have been a more difficult election for Democrats — even if it might not have been the game changer that it appeared to be in every post-Roe special election.
Both preliminary network exit polls and preliminary voter polls found that Republicans made at least some headway with both men and women since 2018. The gender gap in vote preference was more pronounced in early network exit polling this year than in AP VoteCast preliminary voter surveys.
• Nov. 9 at 1:41 a.m.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is projected to win the election for Michigan governor, according to AP and Edison Research.
Abortion was the top voting concern for Pennsylvania voters, with more than a third of voters selecting abortion as their top issue. Among the voters who said abortion was their top issue, Shapiro defeated Mastriano by a roughly 4-to-1 margin. Inflation was a close second.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) declared late Tuesday night that Republicans have failed to win a supermajority in the state legislature, which would have allowed them to override his veto and pass a strict abortion ban.
A big win for abortion rights advocates: Democrat Josh Shapiro will be the next governor of Pennsylvania. He has promised to veto any antiabortion legislation passed by the state's Republican-led legislature.
In Pennsylvania, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano had indicated he would sign an abortion ban if elected, roughly 4 in 10 voters said abortion was the most important issue in deciding their vote, according to early exit polling.
The results in Michigan could also have implications for access to abortion in other conservative states. Abortion providers say they’ve seen an influx of patients coming from out of state, with some women traveling as far away as Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
• Nov. 8 at 10:34 p.m.
For a deeper look at how various groups voted, visit our interactive exit polling page.
Attorneys general are somewhat limited in their ability to protect abortion rights. Wisconsin’s pre-Roe ban has been in effect since June, despite the efforts of Democratic AG Josh Kaul, who promised not to enforce it. That pledge has not provided the security Wisconsin abortion clinics feel they need to reopen.
I spoke tonight to Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow, who told me she felt “very good” about the prospect of Democrats winning at the top of the ticket. there. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made abortion rights a central plank of her campaign.
• Nov. 8 at 10:19 p.m.
Vote-counting in Arizona can take more than a week. More than 80 percent of the state's voters cast their ballots early. The first results will be early ballots received a few days before Tuesday.
I just got off the phone with Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, where staffers say they are "cautiously optimistic" about the returns on the ballot initiative. They say they're not surprised to see many Republicans crossing party lines on this issue.
With Gov. Ron DeSantis projected to win the Florida governor's race, Republicans will now have a clear path to passing a six-week or total abortion ban in the 2023 legislative session, as DeSantis would be unlikely to veto it.
The antiabortion ballot initiative in Kentucky appears to be significantly underperforming Republican statewide candidates. If it fails, it would be a big surprise and a massive win for abortion rights supporters.
Nationally, the share of Democratic ads in races up and down the ballot mentioning abortion has ticked down 10 percentage points from a high mark of close to 50 percent in early October, according to AdImpact,.
In Virginia’s 7th, Democrat Abigail Spanberger has repeatedly criticized her GOP challenger’s anti-abortion positions in a race where ad spending has topped $30 million. The contest and two others in Virginia are seen as a key indicator of voter sentiment after the Supreme Court reversed nearly 50 years of abortion rights.
Abortion access is a key issue in control of Congress, too. In Ohio, two millennial women face off in a House race that will usher in a shift from Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan. Both women disagree on almost everything, including abortion.
I spent some time in Michigan last week talking to candidates, operatives and voters, and abortion is clearly top of mind. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, up for re-election, brings it up regularly and says she has been “fighting like hell” to preserve access. The GOP challenger, Tudor Dixon, has tried to avoid it.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was all in on abortion rights long before Dobbs. She filed a lawsuit last spring against a pre-Roe abortion ban that has protected abortion in the state, while similar bans have gone into effect elsewhere.
North Carolina has become a major destination for people seeking abortions — experiencing the greatest spike in abortions of any state since Roe was overturned. If Republicans win a supermajority there, they’d have the votes to cut off that access.
Florida counts votes faster than most states, per the AP. In 2020, 90 percent of votes had been counted by 9 p.m. Eastern. Early and mail voting is very popular here — in 2020, 83 percent of votes cast were from early or absentee ballots — and most counties report those votes first.
All eyes will be on Florida when state legislatures reconvene in 2023. Even with a 15-week ban, Florida has been a haven state for abortion seekers across the Southeast. But the conservative legislature could (and probably will) crack down further if DeSantis wins reelection.
• Nov. 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Polls are now closed in Georgia and most counties in Florida.
If Stacey Abrams wins in Georgia, it’s extremely unlikely she’d be able to stop the 6-week abortion ban already in effect. That would require Democrats to also win a majority in the House and Senate. Still, she could stop a potential total ban from passing next session.
The antiabortion amendment on the ballot in Kentucky is similar to the one that was resoundingly defeated in Kansas this summer. Kentucky tends to be even more conservative than Kansas. If antiabortion efforts are defeated there, it will send a very strong signal to Republican lawmakers across the country.
In Michigan and Kentucky, abortion rights groups are focusing on a message aimed at voters across the political spectrum: the freedom of Americans to make their own health-care decisions without government interference.
• Nov. 8 at 6:15 p.m.
Kentucky has one of the earliest poll-close times in the country, and the state counts quickly, too — the vast majority of results are usually released within 3 hours of polls closing, according to AP.
More from the exit polls: About one-quarter of voters in early voter polling conducted by AP VoteCast cited the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade as the single most important factor impacting their vote.
The first early exit polls are in. Nationally, about 3 in 10 voters cited abortion as the most important issue deciding their vote according to early exit polling conducted by Edison Research, slightly under those who cited inflation as their most important issue.
As an ad topic for Democrats, health insurance and prescription drug costs have been dwarfed by abortion. Democrats have spent nearly $343 million on ads related to abortion compared with $136 million on health-related ads. The dynamic shows how much Democrats are banking on abortion motivating their base.
I’m zipping around Kentucky as voters here consider a constitutional amendment on abortion. A “yes” vote would add language to the constitution that denies the right to an abortion — and short-circuit any legal challenges to the state’s current ban.
• Nov. 8 at 5:35 p.m.
When polls close -- and how long counting votes might take -- in each state.
In our latest Post-ABC poll, 66 percent of adults said abortion should be legal in all or most cases; that’s the highest since the question was first asked, in 1995 — and it’s risen sharply since the Dobbs ruling in June.
I’ve been covering abortion for three years, monitoring bans in the states and traveling across the country to report how those bans affect people’s lives. I'm watching to see how this issue drives turnout.
This analysis focuses on state-level elections because, since the fall of Roe, states have the power to ban abortion. It highlights contests that were rated as competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and focuses on races wherecandidates or party leaders have taken a clear position on the issue or vowed to address it.
We are not including races for the judiciary because the direct impact on abortion from the outcomes of those contests is less clear. Control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate could also influence abortion access, as some Republicans plan to push a national abortion ban if the GOP wins power.
Here are the top ninestates where abortion access hangs in the balance and election results are proving pivotal.
Current law Abortion is temporarily legal up to 15 weeks. A near-total ban first enacted in 1864 has been blocked by the courts. Read more
What’s at stake
The governor’s office and control of the state legislature are up for grabs, and both outcomes could affect abortion policy. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, who has pledged to veto antiabortion legislation, was projected to win her race. Hobbs' Republican competitor Kari Lake said she would have supported a near-total abortion ban. And though Republicans currently hold a slim majority in both legislative chambers, Democrats can win power by flipping two seats in the House and two in the Senate. Democratic leaders have promised, if they win the majority, to repeal the 1864 ban, which has been blocked by the Arizona Court of Appeals but could be restored by the state Supreme Court.
Arizona also has a high-stakes race for attorney general. If the 1864 law takes effect again, Democrat Kris Mayes has promised not to prosecute people who seek out abortions or those involved in providing abortion care. While that kind of commitment likely would not provide enough security for abortion clinics to stay open, it would allow people in Arizona to distribute and use illegal abortion pills with less fear of prosecution.
Current law Abortion is legal up to 15 weeks of pregnancy under a law passed this year by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Read more
What’s at stake
Republicans firmly control the legislature, meaning the governor’s race was the one to watch. With DeSantis's victory, Republicans will have a clear path to heeding the calls of antiabortion activists in the state for a stricter abortion ban. Democratic candidate Charlie Crist had promised to sign an executive order protecting abortion rights on his first day as governor.
Current law Abortion is legal until cardiac activity can be detected, around six weeks of pregnancy, under a law signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. Read more
What’s at stake
Kemp and the GOP-led legislature will likely face calls from antiabortion groups to enact a total ban. Democrat Stacey Abrams would have been in a position to veto additional restrictions.
The race for attorney general could have implications for those helping people in Georgia to access abortion illegally beyond the six-week mark: Incumbent Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, a staunch supporter of the six-week ban, won reelection. Democratic challenger Jen Jordan had said she would not defend the law.
Current law Abortion is legal in Kansas up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. Read more
What’s at stake
Kansans showed their support for abortion rights in August, when they voted overwhelmingly to reject an amendment that would have eliminated constitutional protections for abortion. Despite that vote, the Republican-led legislature could still try to push through antiabortion legislation. That will be more difficult — though still possible — with Democrat Laura Kelly projected to hold the governor’s mansion. Kelly has reiterated her support for abortion rights since the referendum. While her GOP opponent, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, identifies as “pro-life,” he has said that the August vote should be “respected” going forward.
Current law Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Kentucky, under a trigger ban that took effect this summer. Read more
What’s at stake
A referendum in Kentucky backed by antiabortion advocates, similar to the one in Kansas, was rejected by voters. The measure would have made it virtually impossible to effectively challenge antiabortion legislation in court, amending the state constitution to clarify that it does not protect the right to abortion. Abortion rights groups may now have a better shot at blocking Kentucky’s abortion ban.
Current law Abortion is legal in Michigan up to the point of viability, between 23 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. A 1931 abortion ban was blocked by the courts in September, but that ruling has been appealed and could be reversed. Read more
What’s at stake
There were several contests that could determine the future of abortion access in Michigan, where Republicans currently hold majorities in both legislative chambers. The first is the vote for governor: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who secured another term, made supporting abortion rights central to her reelection campaign and filed a lawsuit that has prevented Michigan’s pre-Roe ban from taking effect. Republican challenger Tudor Dixon had expressed support for the 1931 ban, saying she backs abortion bans without exceptions for rape or incest. Also, a successful ballot initiative backed by abortion rights supporters will now enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution.
The Michigan attorney general’s race was also one to watch, with Republican Matthew DePerno promising to enforce Michigan’s pre-Roe ban, and Democrat Dana Nessel, the projected winner, pledging the opposite.
Current law Abortion is legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Read more
What’s at stake
Republicans failed to win a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the state legislature to prevent the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, from blocking abortion restrictions. Republicans had needed to flip at least two seats in the Senate, which they did, and three seats in the House, which they failed to do. The GOP leadership has expressed support for banning abortion once cardiac activity is detected, or after the first trimester, around 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Current law Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Read more
What’s at stake
With Republicans holding firm majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, Pennsylvania was one GOP governor away from a strict abortion ban. The current Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, has pledged to veto antiabortion legislation — a promise echoed by Josh Shapiro (D) who won the race. Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator, sponsored a bill in the legislature that would have outlawed abortions as soon as cardiac activity is detected — and later asserted that women who get abortions after 10 weeks of pregnancy should be charged with murder. Mastriano had said that, as governor, he would welcome the opportunity to sign an abortion ban into law.
Current law Abortion has been almost entirely banned since June, when an 1849 abortion law took effect. Read more
What’s at stake
The key races here were for attorney general and governor as well as several tight contests in the state legislature.
The only path to eventually restoring access to abortion in Wisconsin is a lawsuit filed by Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, who narrowly won reelection. His Republican challenger, Eric Toney, had pledged as attorney general to enforce the 1849 law and could have moved to dismiss Kaul’s lawsuit.
If the 1849 law is blocked by the courts, Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature is expected to consider a “heartbeat ban” — which would outlaw abortion after cardiac activity is detected — in an upcoming legislative session. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who won reelection, will be in position to veto that legislation. His GOP challenger, Tim Michels, had said he would sign an abortion ban that includes exceptions for rape and incest. Republicans won a supermajority in the Senate but narrowly missed that mark in the Assembly, meaning they will not be able to bypass Evers.
Poll close times are when the majority of counties close in that state.
Reporting by Caroline Kitchener, Kevin Schaul and Kati Perry. Editing by Kevin Uhrmacher, Reuben Fischer-Baum, Peter Wallsten, Madison Walls, Ann Gerhart and Julie Vitkovskaya. Design and development by Kevin Schaul, Kati Perry, Tyler Remmel, Shikha Subramaniam, Natalie Vineberg and Lucy Naland. Election data work by Jen Haskell. Additional engineering contributions by Shajia Abidi, Alexis Barnes, Jason Bernert, Dana Cassidy, Tyler Fisher, Holden Foreman, Dylan Freedman, Chloe Langston, Brittany Renee Mayes and Anthony Pesce. Copy editing by Dorine Bethea. Additional contributions by Wendy Galietta, Candace Mitchell, Bryan Flaherty and Michelle Jaconi.