You might well be asked to sign a petition to reinstate the death penalty, even as you are being urged not to sign.
A petition drive underway by Nebraskans for the Death Penalty seeks enough signatures to place the death penalty on the November 2016 ballot.
It is an effort to reverse the Unicameral’s decision to repeal the death penalty, completed when the legislature overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of LB 268.
ACLU of Nebraska has received a $400,000 grant from Proteus Action League to mount a campaign against the petition drive.
Executive Director Danielle Conrad says the state chapter is thrilled to receive the grant to continue what she describes as a thoughtful public dialogue about the death penalty. The money primarily will be used to oppose the petition effort and keep the issue off the 2016 November ballot.
“If, however, our opponents are successful and they do have an opportunity to place this on the ballot, we’re really starting that general election campaign today,” Conrad tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A coalition has formed, calling itself Nebraskans for Public Safety, to oppose the effort to reinstate capital punishment. Its first effort is the following video entitled “Decline to Sign” which features, among others, state Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, one of the conservatives instrumental in obtaining the votes needed to repeal the death penalty in the legislature.
Conrad says a number of public education efforts will be undertaken, such as distributing campaign literature, using social media to get its message out, and even paying for some broadcast commercials.
Also, a paid field team will shadow petition circulators at some public venues, urging Nebraska votes not to sign the petition.
“As petitioners are out circulating through community festivals and other public places this summer, our educators will be out passing out palm cards, which have our point of view about the issue so that Nebraska voters can decide for themselves.”
Conrad says it is too early to determine whether the campaign to place the death penalty on the ballot will succeed, but says it’s a significant issue facing Nebraskans.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]