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Florida’s new abortion ban has activists there, and in Alabama, looking to the November

Jayden D'Onofrio passes out Plan B, condoms and rolling papers to educate young voters at Florida Atlantic University on Thursday, April 11 in Boca Raton, Fla. Abortion and marijuana will be on Florida's November ballot, and these issues are critical issues for young voters. (AP Photo/Cody Jackson)
Cody Jackson/AP
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AP
Jayden D'Onofrio passes out Plan B, condoms and rolling papers to educate young voters at Florida Atlantic University on Thursday, April 11 in Boca Raton, Fla. Abortion and marijuana will be on Florida's November ballot, and these issues are critical issues for young voters. (AP Photo/Cody Jackson)

Democrats in both Alabama and Florida are looking to the possible political blowback from conservative actions like the Sunshine State’s new six week abortion that takes effect in May. There's also the ongoing headaches from an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are people. Activists in both States think reproductive rights could be a rallying cry during the November election. APR spoke with Robin Marty back in February. She’s the Executive Director of the West Alabama Women’s Center. Marty says conservative laws and actions fall into the same political bucket…

“I think people are going to be angry, and they should rightfully be angry. This is not a partisan issue," Marty says. "This is about whether people should have the ability to create families this is about whether people should have the ability to decide how big their families should be.”

The Associated Press reports how Democrats believe young Florida voters will go to the polls in November because of the abortion and marijuana measures on the ballot. If they do, President Joe Biden will likely get their support even though many are lukewarm to a second term for him. Still the Democratic president's stance on the issues, especially abortion, is more in line with them than former President Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee has tried to straddle the abortion issue by leaving it to the states. In Florida, that means a ban after six weeks. Back in February, Robin Marty with the West Alabama Women’s Center voiced the concern that banning contraceptives could be next.

“All of these things are in the same bucket and they're all under attack and they all affect everyone regardless of their party, regardless of their race, their religion, where they live," she said. "These are all the same issue. And when you see a Supreme Court that comes out and attacks any one of these issues, you know that they're all under threat.”

According to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of the electorate, about 8 in 10 Florida voters under age 45 in the 2022 midterm elections said the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade had an impact on their decision to vote and who to support. The youngest voters, under age 30, appeared more likely than others to say the decision was the single most important factor in their votes, with about 3 in 10 saying that, compared with about 2 in 10 older voters. Voters under 45 were slightly more likely than others to say abortion should always be legal, with 30% taking that position.

The AP VoteCast survey shows about 6 in 10 Florida voters in the 2022 elections favored legalizing the recreational use of marijuana nationwide, the survey found. Among voters under 45, that was 76%. Still, it's unclear how important that issue is for younger voters compared with other issues.

The big question is whether other issues can override Biden's enthusiasm problem among young Florida voters, and elsewhere.

Six in 10 adults under 30 nationally said in a December AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll that they would be dissatisfied with Biden as the Democratic Party nominee in 2024. And only about 2 in 10 said in a March poll that "excited" would describe their emotions if Biden were re-elected.

Young voters were crucial to the broad and racially diverse coalition that helped elect Biden in 2020. About 6 in 10 voters under 30 backed Biden nationally, according to AP VoteCas. A Pew Research Center survey showed that those under age 30 made up 38% of new or irregular voters in that election.

In Florida, Biden won 64% of young voters – similar to his national numbers.

New issues that concern young voters have emerged this year. Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war has sparked protests at college campuses across the country, and Biden's inability to deliver broad-based student loan forgiveness affects many young voters directly. Concern about climate change also continues to grow.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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