Voters in Nebraska, California and Oklahoma have rejected measures that would abolish the death penalty.
In Nebraska, the death penalty had not been used for nearly two decades and then was abolished last year. Tuesday’s ballot gave voters the opportunity to reinstate the death penalty with 60 percent of the vote. Governor Pete Ricketts reportedly spent $300,000 of his personal money on the pro-death penalty campaign, rejecting the death penalty ban that had been passed last year.
In Oklahoma, voters approved the guarantee of the death penalty by a 2-to-1 margin permitting lawmakers to proceed with any method of execution that is not banned by the U.S. Constitution and specifying that the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment.
California, for example, has approximately 750 inmates on death row but has not had an execution in a decade. They voted not to repeal the death penalty, but actually to speed up executions.
Ongoing legal battles surrounding the production of drugs for lethal injections have halted executions in several states.
“Before the election, California, Oklahoma and Nebraska all had broken death penalty systems. And after the election, California, Oklahoma and Nebraska all have broken death penalty systems,” says Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, stating the issue remains much more complex than it appears.