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Why Yes-or-No Questions on Abortion Rights Could Be a Key to 2024

U.S.Why Yes-or-No Questions on Abortion Rights Could Be a Key to 2024

As Democrats confront a presidential race against a resurgent and resilient Donald J. Trump as well as a brutally challenging Senate map, they believe they have an increasingly powerful political weapon: ballot measures to protect abortion rights.

Two crucial presidential and Senate battlegrounds, Arizona and Nevada, are expected to put such measures directly before voters. So are other states with top Senate races, including Maryland and potentially Montana. And abortion rights measures are set or could appear on ballots in states like New York, Florida and Nebraska, where competitive contests could help determine whether Democrats win back the House.

Hopeful Democrats — and worried Republicans — are acutely aware that in all seven states where abortion has been put directly to voters since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the abortion rights side has won, in both red states like Ohio and Kansas as well as swing states like Michigan. Those measures have sometimes fueled surges in liberal turnout that have lifted Democratic candidates to victory, as well.

So in every state where an abortion measure is already on the 2024 ballot or could yet appear, Democratic candidates, state parties and allied groups are campaigning furiously alongside the ballot initiatives, running ads, helping pour money behind them and bringing up the measures in speech after speech.

In Arizona, where Democrats are trying to flip the Legislature, the party’s candidates have gone so far as to collect signatures for the state’s ballot measure as they knock on voters’ doors.

“When the abortion petition initiative came out, it was a no-brainer that I would carry it with me,” said Brandy Reese, a Democrat running for the Arizona House who said she had gathered dozens of signatures while campaigning. “I introduce myself as a pro-choice candidate running, and you can instantly tell in people’s body language that they’re excited to hear that.”


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