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Voters pass two State Constitutional Amendments

By Staff | Nov 9, 2018

Shepherdstown resident Ein Kidrick walks out of his polling station at Asbury United Methodist Church on Tuesday evening. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — West Virginia voters passed two amendments to the West Virginia State Constitution during the midterm elections, according to the Associated Press.

Amendment No. 1: the no constitutional right to abortion amendment proposal slid through with a small margin of 51.73 percent voting for its passage, or 295,536 of the state’s voters.

Amendment No. 2: the judicial budget oversight amendment sailed through the election process, garnering 72.35 percent, or 386,272 of the state’s voters supporting its passage. The vote comes after months of investigations into potential inappropriate spending by some of the state’s Supreme Court justices.

The total number of ballots cast, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office came in at the unofficial count of 533,866.

Jefferson County voters aligned with Amendment 2 voters across the state, supporting the amendment with a resounding 74.52 percent of the local vote. However, Jefferson voters were on the minority side of the Amendment 1 vote, as 56.35 percent of the voters were opposed to the amendment.

The Vote No on Amendment 1 Coalition, which was formed to fight the amendment’s passage, issued a press release Tuesday night, calling the passage of the amendment “a blow to both reproductive health care and constitutional protection in West Virginia. . . . Politicians have proven tonight that they will stop at nothing to eliminate abortion access.”

Proponents of the amendment said the state should not fund abortions with taxpayer dollars, and believe the passage of the amendment will stop such funding. The wording of the amendment also makes clear that abortion is not a right granted by the West Virginia Constitution.

“We know that limiting abortion funding saves lives,” said West Virginians for Life Legislative Liaison Karen Cross in a press release issued by the organization. “It was a West Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1993, not voters, that allowed taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.”

According to the Associated Press, West Virginians have paid about $10 million for approximately 35,000 abortions. In 2017 alone, West Virginia taxpayers paid for 1,560 abortions, the AP reported.