While noting that nothing is official yet, Secretary of State John Gale has announced it appears a referendum petition drive has succeeded in blocking the Unicameral’s repeal of the death penalty.
Gale’s office has received 120,479 signatures verified by county election authorities to be those of registered Nebraska voters. The drive needed 113,883 certified signatures to keep LB 268 from going into effect.
“Sufficient verified signatures have been received by our office to meet the required threshold of 113,883, but this is not an official certification yet,” Gale said in a written statement released by his office. “While it would appear that the death penalty repeal is very likely to be stayed, we will be waiting until we reach a level of certified signatures of 110 percent before reaching that declaration.”
The higher threshold set out by Gale would equal 125,271 signatures.
The Secretary of State office had earlier declared the petition drive succeeded in gathering enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot.
The thresholds are determined by the number of registered voters in Nebraska. Nebraska has 1,138,835 registered voters. The petition drive needed 5% from at least 38 of the state’s 93 counties, or 56,942, to secure ballot status. It needed 10% from at least 38 counties, or 113,883, to keep the legislature’s repeal of the death penalty from taking effect.
So far, 68 counties have completed the certification process of the petition drive and turned results in to the Secretary of State.
The petition campaign run by Nebraskans for the Death Penalty gathered nearly 167,000 signatures. The petition campaign began shortly after the Unicameral overrode Gov. Ricketts’ vetoed LB 268 and repealed the death penalty.
The Attorney General also issued ballot language, which can be accessed by clicking here.