States Vote in Favor of the Death Penalty

California, Nebraska, and Oklahoma had capital punishment on their ballots.

On November 8, 2016, California, Nebraska, and Oklahoma voted on the death penalty. Here’s an overview of what each state decided.

California. By a 54%-46% split, voters rejected Proposition 62, which would have banned the death penalty and replaced it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. At the same time, they approved Proposition 66, the essential goal of which was to speed up the timeline for executions.

Nebraska. On May 27, 2015, Nebraska abolished the death penalty by overriding the veto of Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. The Legislature’s vote was 30 to 19, with both Democrats and Republicans voting for abolition. But in the November 2016 election, citizens decided—with Referendum 426—to reinstate the death penalty by repealing the law that had eliminated it.

Oklahoma. Approximately two-thirds of voters chose in favor of a measure—Question 776—amending the state constitution to allow the legislature to approve any method of execution that isn’t prohibited by the federal constitution. The LA Times reported that “[c]ritics of the measure said it did little to change the legislature's existing powers.” Question 776 also provided that death sentences wouldn’t be reduced because a court invalidated a method of execution. It further said that the death penalty itself—regardless of the execution method—cannot be considered cruel and unusual punishment under the state constitution.

For further state-by-state information, you can see the Death Penalty Information Center's map of states that do and don’t have the death penalty.