+
Democracy

Texts misleading Kansas voters about abortion amendment are a reminder to read ballots carefully

The truth is the opposite of what the texts say.

voting, abortion

Kansas is voting on a constitutional amendment that would open the door to restrictive abortion laws.

Getting to the truth in politics is challenging as it is and it's hard enough just to get people to vote. The last thing we need is to have voters receive direct messages telling them that voting YES on an important ballot measure will do exactly the opposite of what it will do.

Yet that's what has been happening in at least one state.

In its current election, Kansas voters are being asked to vote for or against an amendment to the state's constitution that would impact abortion laws. The Value Them Both Amendment says that there's no constitutional right to an abortion and would grant legislators the authority to regulate abortions. According to NPR, it's the first ballot measure on reproductive rights in the U.S. since the Supreme Court's decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.


The night before the election, people in Kansas started reporting text messages that sounded very much like they came from a pro-choice source. "Women in Kansas are losing their choice on reproductive rights," the texts read. "Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women's health."

However, that's exactly the opposite of what voting yes would do. Voting yes on the amendment would open the door to more restrictive abortion laws. Voting no means keeping current regulations.

The texts came from several different 888 numbers and did not disclose who they came from.

The texts are pretty clearly meant to confuse pro-choice voters into voting for the amendment, telling them that a yes vote would protect women's reproductive rights when the opposite is true. It's blatantly misleading, but according to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, it's not illegal.

Not only do text messages about constitutional ballot initiatives not require disclaimers informing receivers of who has paid for them, but there's also nothing in the current statutes that addresses misleading wording. Lovely.

According to KMBC, the service Twilio disabled the user's account from sending out any more text messages as distributing disinformation is against the platform's terms of service. But the damage has already been done.

Naturally, people should read the ballot thoroughly before they vote and not just follow what some text tells them. However, ballots can be confusing. Language can be vague and/or biased, littered with legalese or contain muddled positives and negatives so voters aren't always clear on what they are voting for or against.

The Kansas amendment measure is confusing as it is written. Check out the language used on the ballot, as shared by The Guardian:


Explanatory statement. The Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion, including, but not limited to, in circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother.

A vote for the Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion.

A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no changes to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.

Shall the following be adopted?

§ 22. Regulation of abortion.Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.

That's not a simple yes or no choice the way it's worded. "Do you want the state to pass restrictive abortion laws? Yes or No?" would be simple. The way this is written, you have to unravel language that's pretty clearly written to favor the amendment while also deciphering what it is you're actually voting for or against.

The text messages telling pro-choice people to vote yes because it will protect choice are 100% wrong and almost assuredly designed to confuse voters even more than the ballot already does.

It's a good reminder to ignore political messaging and to always read ballots carefully so that we know what we're voting for. Some people will go to extreme dishonest lengths to score a political win, so we must stay diligent as we exercise our civic right, privilege and responsibility.

popular

Gen X advice for Gen Z: Woman shares the things she wishes 'somebody told me in my twenties’

'You date people you think you deserve. You deserve better.'

Gen Xer shares some timeless advice for Gen Z.

Meghan Smith is the owner of Melody Note Vintage store in the eternally hip town of Palm Springs, California, and her old-school Gen X advice has really connected with younger people on TikTok.

In a video posted in December 2022, she shares the advice she wishes that “somebody told me in my twenties” and it has received more than 13 million views. Smith says that she gave the same advice to her partner's two daughters when they reached their twenties.

The video is hashtagged #GenX advice for #GenZ and late #millennials. Sorry older millennials, you’re too old to receive these pearls of wisdom.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Thousands of people are sharing the celebrity they want to be president. Here are the top 15.

"It's 2024, and the U.S. has elected a random celebrity as president, who do you want it to be?"

Keanu Reeves, Dolly Parton and Morgan Freeman.

Throughout the years there have been some notable celebrities who have changed careers to become politicians. The most notable is Ronald Reagan, who went from a ‘50s B-list actor to governor of California (1967 to 1975) and then President of the United States (1981 to 1989).

There was also Donald Trump who went from the host of “Celebrity Apprentice” to becoming a one-term president (2017 to 2021) and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger who served as Governor of California from (2003 to 2011).

Former actor and “Saturday Night Live” writer Al Franken was a Senator in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 until he stepped down amidst allegations of misconduct.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Thousands of women share image of Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh with a powerful message

'De-condition and unlearn what you’ve been wired to think: that women are your competition.'

Jamie Lee Curtis celebrating Michelle Yeoh's Golden Globes win was an empowering moment for all women.

The 2023 Golden Globe Awards was an incredible night for Michelle Yeoh. The 60-year-old actress had waited 40 years to play the lead in a Hollywood film, and winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy for her starring role in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" was a dream come true.

Yeoh's moment in the spotlight made headlines that night as her award speech went viral. But following the ceremony, another moment went viral—the split second Yeoh's name was called as the winner and the reaction of her co-star, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Curtis herself had been nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in the film but didn't win. (That award went to Angela Bassett in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.") But whatever disappointment Curtis may have felt about not winning her own award did not diminish her response to Yeoh's win, which was immediate, intense and immensely joyful.

Keep ReadingShow less

Flight attendant sits on floor the entire flight

Not everyone enjoys flying. The level of non-enjoyment can range from mild discomfort to full blown Aerophobia, which is defined as an extreme fear of flying. While flying is the quickest way to get to far away destinations, for some people being that far off the ground is terrifying and they'd rather take their chances on the ground.

A passenger flying from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to JFK International Airport in New York confronted that fear while flying with Delta. The woman, who is currently still unidentified expressed that she was nervous to fly according to Molly Simonson Lee, a passenger seated behind the woman who witnessed the encounter. Tight spaces don't make for much privacy, but in this case, the world is better for knowing this took place.

According to Lee, who posted about the exchange on Facebook, the Delta flight attendant, Floyd Dean-Shannon, took his time to give the nervous traveler his undivided attention.

Keep ReadingShow less

Internet rallies behind Christina Applegate after troll comment.

In the age of the internet, most people have run into their fair share of internet trolls. You know, the people that just look for a reason to say something mean for no real reason at all. It's also pretty safe to assume that celebrities see more trolls looking to hurt their feelings than the average person.

Recently, Christina Applegate had a run-in with a commenter who decided the actress needed to know she didn't care for her face. The comment was left under an article about Applegate attending her first red carpet event since she announced her diagnosis of MS in August 2021. The "Dead to Me" actress attended the Critics Choice Awards with her daughter, Sadie Grace LeNoble, 11, and the duo rocked all black.

Applegate admitted to being nervous about the event in a tweet, but somehow I don't think someone being upset about what her face looked like was at the top of her concerns. The unidentified person wrote the rude remark to which Applegate decided to respond to via private message to tell the person their comment "wasn't nice." The exchange was unfortunate to say the least.

Keep ReadingShow less
Deadline/Youtube

She even brought in her singing chops

There are a million reasons to love the film “Everything Everywhere, All At Once." It has comedy, drama, sci-fi and kung fu rolled into one compelling story. It literally has all the things.

However, Stephanie Hsu’s iconic performance as the fabulously nihilistic Jobu Tupaki has got to be at the top of the list.

Jobu Tupaki has all the inherent makings of a fan favorite—amazing outfits, attitude at a level 5,000, and some insanely cool fight moves. But while she is the antagonist, Jobu in many ways serves as the heart of the story, making it a challenging role to pull off.

Well, Hsu knew exactly how to do it. And her audition tape proves it.

Keep ReadingShow less