KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Anonymous text messages about the upcoming vote on abortion are causing confusion and frustration for some Kansas voters.
The text message reads, “Women in KS are losing their choice on reproductive rights. Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.”
But voting yes on the “Value Them Both” Amendment would add language to the state constitution to say there’s no constitutional right to abortion in Kansas. From there, it would allow the Kansas Legislature to enact new abortion restrictions.
Voting no would keep abortion as a constitutionally protected right in the state.
Voters who received the text message told FOX4 that they thought it was misleading. One voter told FOX4 they filed a complaint with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.
A spokeswoman for Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab told FOX4, “Our office has received phone calls from the general public and acknowledges their concerns. However, state law does not authorize the Secretary of State’s Office to regulate campaign ads or messaging.”
In a Twitter thread, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission acknowledged it received questions about text message advocacy and tweeted a thread about election law.
Although groups and individuals have to acknowledge who funds paid text messages about candidates, there is no such requirement for constitutional ballot initiatives.
“Paid text messages that advocate for candidates do require attribution, but constitutional ballot initiatives do not. Constitutional ballot initiative advocacy falls under a different statute that includes nothing about text messaging or anything similar,” the commission tweeted.
Additionally, misleading political advertising is legal, according to the commission.
“The second question we have received is whether any law under our jurisdiction requires accuracy of communications. In 2004, the Commission specifically addressed this question and noted that “nothing in the [Campaign Finance] Act addresses the use of misleading advertising,” the commission tweeted.
In a fundraising email, Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which opposes the amendment, accused supporters of lying.
“In the eleventh hour, the anti-abortion campaign is blatantly LYING to voters about the anti-abortion constitutional amendment. They’re trying to confuse Kansans the night before the primary. It’s despicable,” the email read.
The Value Them Both Coalition, which supports the amendment, said their group was not involved with the text messages.
“This is not from any member organization of the Value Them Both Coalition, nor the coalition itself. All Value Them Both Coalition communications include identifying information of the source, which this text does not,” said Mackenzie Haddix, deputy communications director of the Value Them Both Coalition.
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