Gov. Pete Ricketts expresses confidence Nebraska voters will ultimately decide the fate of the death penalty as a deadline approaches for a referendum petition drive.
“I’m confident that Nebraskans will be voting on this topic,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference at his Capitol office.
Ricketts vetoed LB 268, but the Unicameral overrode his veto and repealed the death penalty.
Shortly after the override, a petition drive began to force the issue to a vote of the people in November of 2016.
The group running the petition, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, have until the 27th to gather enough signatures to force the issue to the ballot.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, circulators must gather approximately 57,000 signatures of registered voters to place the issue on the November ballot next year. The signatures must be 5% of the registered voters from 38 counties.
If circulators gather 10% of the registered voters, between 114,000 and 115,000 signatures, they can block LB 268 from going into effect.
Ricketts has donated at least $200,000 to Nebraskans for the Death Penalty. Campaign finance disclosure report shows the governor is its top individual contributor, followed by his father, Joe Ricketts, who has given $100,000.
A conservative group based in Washington, D.C., Judicial Crisis Network, has donated $200,000.
The group opposing the petition effort, Nebraskans for Public Safety, received $400,000 from the Proteus Action League, based in Amherst, MA.
Ricketts sticks with his claim that lawmakers went against the wishes of Nebraskans.
“I’ve been doing town halls for the last three or four weeks and I can tell you that Nebraskans overwhelmingly support reinstating the death penalty,” according to Ricketts.
Ricketts adds he’s quite confident that if the issue makes it on the ballot, voters will reinstate the death penalty.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]