A proposal to ask Oklahoma voters to enshrine the death penalty in the state constitution sailed easily through the Legislature, but now is facing opposition from groups on opposite ends of the political spectrum, the Associated Press reports. In addition to faith and civil rights organizations that traditionally oppose capital punishment, several conservative groups and the newly recognized Oklahoma Libertarian Party also are joining the fight against State Question 776. “The conservative position is against the death penalty because it costs more than life (in prison), more than life without parole,” said Marc Hyden of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, one of several organizations that helped kick off rallies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa opposing the question. “Beyond that … we believe the founding fathers had the foresight to institute checks and balances, and this aims to subvert those checks and balances.”
A group opposing the state question – Say No To SQ 776 – has raised about $4,000. There don’t appear to be any organized groups supporting the question. The state question was sent to the voters through a resolution approved by the legislature in 2015 after a botched execution and problems with the administration of lethal injection. Sponsored by two pro-death penalty lawmakers, it would ensure that death sentences would not be reduced if a method of execution is ever ruled invalid and gives the legislature the explicit power to designate any method of execution not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. It states that the imposition of the death penalty will not be considered cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited in the Oklahoma Constitution.