With Abortion Ballot Question, a ‘Path to Relevance’ for Democrats in Florida?

Suddenly, November got a lot more interesting in Florida.

The nation’s third-largest state, once the biggest battleground in presidential politics, has become less important as its election results have trended repeatedly toward the political right. Few consider it a true swing state anymore.

But three rulings from the Florida Supreme Court on abortion and marijuana, released on Monday, may inject new life into Democratic campaigns before the general election on Nov. 6.

The court, which leans conservative, upheld a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing an even more restrictive six-week ban to soon take effect. However, the court also allowed a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would guarantee access to abortion “before viability,” or at about 24 weeks.

In a third decision, the court gave the go-ahead to a separate ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Taken together, Democrats see the rulings as an opening to drive their voters — and perhaps new voters likely to support their candidates — to the polls.

“It has the potential to pull out more voters, and those voters are more likely to be with us than with the other guys,” said Christina Reynolds, senior vice president of communications for Emily’s List, which supports and funds Democratic women running for office. “It draws some focus to Florida that might otherwise not be there, because we’ve had our hearts broken before.”

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