The ban on abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy went down in defeat in an election with turnout higher than last month’s mayoral race. In all, 87,296 voters cast ballots in the election, just under a quarter of registered voters.
The election received national attention. If the ban had passed, it would have been the first such municipal ban on abortions after 20 weeks in the nation.
Instead, Albuquerque voters rejected the vote with 55 percent voting against the ban and just 45 percent voting for it with 48 of 50 vote centers reporting.
The vote brought national organizations on both sides of the debate into the city for the special election. Supporters of the ban where buoyed by an Albuquerque Journal poll that showed 54 percent of Albuquerque voters supported the ban.
However, that poll came more than two months ahead of the vote and before any campaigning on either side of the issue happened. More recent polls for blogger Joe Monahan showed the abortion ban failing.
“Today’s election makes it crystal-clear that Albuquerque voters understand that the complex, extremely personal decision about abortion needs to remain between a woman and her doctor,” said Micaela Cadena with the Respect ABQ Women campaign. “Albuquerque families sent a powerful message today–they do not want the government interfering in their private medical decisions. Dangerous, unconstitutional laws like the one we rejected today have no place in Albuquerque, no place in New Mexico, no place anywhere in our nation.”
Respect ABQ Women spearheaded efforts by progressive groups to defeat the ban. The Democratic Party of New Mexico was also involved in defeating the proposition.
Two news stations projected the victory relatively early in the evening.
The projections from KOB and KOAT came after 15 of 50 voting centers were reporting — but more importantly after early and absentee voters voted against it by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin. With most of the votes coming before election day, supporters of the ban needed well over 50 percent of the vote from election day voters to make it a close race.
That did not come.
KRQE followed suit and also projected the victory, though after more vote centers were counted.
“Democrats and independents stood up for the poor and middle class by electing Diane and saying no to the Tea Party and out-of-state extremist groups,” Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Sam Bregman said in a statement following the results. “This election signals that New Mexico Democrats will mount an aggressive campaign to elect all of our candidates in 2014.”
Update (10:58 pm):
Added quotes by Cadena and Bregman as well as descriptor of Respect ABQ Women.