After the Nebraska legislature voted to abolish the state’s death penalty, an expensive battle has begun to bring it back. So far, the side against the death penalty is winning the fundraising battle, reports BuzzFeed. The money is all about the potential for a statewide vote on the death penalty. In May, the legislature narrowly overruled Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of the measure that abolished the death penalty. Ricketts vowed there would be a referendum to give voters the option to bring it back.
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty must collect 57,000 signatures by August to get the vote on the ballot. If they can manage to collect 114,000 signatures, the death penalty will remain on the books until voters weigh in. The group estimates that it would need to spend $900,000. The group has been outraised by an organization opposing the death penalty referendum, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Nebraskans for the Death Penalty raised $259,744, and more than 75 percent of that came from the governor's family. On the other side, Nebraskans for Public Safety (an anti-death penalty group), has a $400,000 contribution from a progressive organization called Proteus Action League. Ricketts believes he will still be able to carry out the executions of the 10 men on death row. His corrections department has spent more than $50,000 on execution drugs from a seller based in India.