A proposal to abolish capital punishment and replace it with a maximum sentence of life without parole qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot this week, so Californians voters going to the polls in November will again decide the fate of the death penalty, reports the Sacramento Bee. Supporters of the repeal say that capital punishment, which voters added to the state’s books in 1978, costs California more than $130 million a year while leading to very few executions because of the time it takes to go through the appeals process.
The measure would apply to the more than 700 inmates currently on death row. The coalition created to oppose the measure, including the California District Attorneys Association, argues that repealing the death penalty would harm public safety. It said in a statement that the problem is “frivolous appeals, endless delays and the ongoing re-victimization of California,” not the death penalty itself. Proponents collected 800,000 petition signatures in support of the measure earlier this year. It officially made the cut after a random signature check conducted by counties projected that at least 555,236 of those signatures were valid.