After the Nebraska legislature voted resoundingly in May to repeal capital punishment, proponents of the death penalty began a counterattack, reports. the New York Times. They are collecting signatures in grocery stores, on doorsteps and at county fairs to try to block the new law and to force a statewide vote on whether the death penalty should be reinstated. The effort is largely bankrolled by Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, and his billionaire father.
Even the organizers' opponents say they have a good shot at success. If proponents of the death penalty collect about 58,000 signatures, or 5 percent of Nebraska's registered voters, by the end of August, under state law they will force a statewide referendum on the death penalty in November 2016. If the organizers collect twice that number, the new law repealing capital punishment will be blocked until the referendum. The organization pushing for the repeal, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, was established in June. A spokesman declined to say how many signatures had been collected. Only two prisoners are on death row in Nebraska.