Gov. Pete Ricketts is pleased that it appears Nebraska voters will decide the fate of the death penalty.
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty gathered far more signatures than needed to force a vote on the death penalty next November. The Secretary of State’s office has begun the verification process.
“Well, I’m very pleased with the results of the petition gathering,” Gov. Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I’m confident that Nebraskans will have the opportunity to vote on this issue. I think it’s something they deserve to have.”
Ricketts invested time and money in this campaign. The governor was the largest individual donor to the effort, giving at least $200,000 to the effort. Ricketts won’t say how much more, if any more, he has contributed, stating only that that would be disclosed in the coming campaign financing report.
Ricketts defends his contributions.
“Ultimately the citizens of Nebraska will make the decision about whether or not they want to retain the death penalty or not,” Ricketts says. “I’m merely facilitating that.”
The petition drive gathered nearly 167,000 signatures. Only about 114,000 need to be verified as those of registered voters to keep the repeal of capital punishment from going into effect.
Ricketts vetoed LB 268, but the Unicameral overrode his veto and repealed the death penalty.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.
Ricketts expects voters to overturn the legislature’s repeal.
“I believe the legislature was very out of touch with the way the overwhelming number of Nebraskans feel about this issue and I think this demonstrates that Nebraskans want to have the opportunity to be able to vote on it.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]