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VOL. 46 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 19, 2022

Duplicate Kansas? Won’t happen in Tennessee

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Could enough Tennesseans rise up to demand a Kansas-like referendum to reverse the Legislature’s banning of all abortions? Highly unlikely.

Tennessee voters cannot call a referendum or place an initiative on the ballot. The Tennessee Legislature could approve a vote on an amendment to the state Constitution, but only in a general election in which a governor is elected.

It would have to be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions, the first by majority votes. The second vote would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

If that nearly impossible hurdle were cleared on abortion – the GOP has supermajorities in both chambers – a split citizenry would then get to vote. A Vanderbilt University poll of 1,000 registered Tennessee voters, taken April 26-May 14, found that half of Tennessee voters consider themselves pro-life and nearly half, 48%, consider themselves pro-choice.

Nationwide, 50% of Americans did not want the court to overturn Roe before the Dobbs decision, a YouGov/The Economist poll showed. The same polling service found the same result after the decision was announced. Thirty-two percent were in favor of overturning Roe in the earlier survey compared with 37% in the later survey.

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