Opponents of the death penalty are preparing for what could be a long campaign on capital punishment.
Nebraskans for Public Safety opposed the petition drive to place the death penalty on the November ballot next year with its “Decline to Sign” campaign.
But far more than enough signatures to get on the ballot were turned in.
“We are carefully monitoring the validation process now and as it moves to the county level and we’ll be continuing to expand our outreach to include more campaign partners,” Danielle Conrad, spokeswoman for Nebraskans for Public Safety, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A referendum petition drive conducted by Nebraskans for the Death Penalty gathered nearly 167,000 signatures in an effort to have voters decide whether Nebraska retains the death penalty. Only around 57,000 have to be validated as those from registered voters to secure a spot on the November ballot next year. If just shy of 114,000 are certified, the petition drive can prevent the Unicameral’s repeal of the death penalty from going into effect.
The Unicameral repealed the death penalty this past legislative session. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed LB 268, but lawmakers overrode his veto at the end of the session.
The referendum effort began shortly thereafter.
Conrad expects a vigorous campaign should it come to that, with interest from outside groups.
“We anticipate that this will continue to receive a high level of interest beyond the borders, but we’re definitely focused on what we can do to visit with Nebraska voters and to build up our Nebraska coalition,” Conrad says.
The Secretary of State has sorted, date-stamped, and numbered the petitions. They now have been sent to the counties for verification by local election authorities, which could take a little more than a month.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]