In 2016 Elections, Americans Voted to Execute More People

San Quentin penitentiary, home to California's death chamber.

San Quentin penitentiary, home to California's death chamber.

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Nebraskans voted to reinstate the death penalty, and Californians voted to speed up their executions.

In the last decade, America has been rapidly moving away from the death penalty; there were just 35 executions in 2014, compared to 98 in 1999. Then the 2016 election happened.

California has a broken capital punishment system: out of 1,039 convicted murderers with death sentences, only 13 have been executed. The appeals process takes as long as 25 years, the Los Angeles Times reported. On Nov. 8, Californians had the opportunity to abolish the death penalty by voting to pass Proposition 62.

But Prop 62 was trailing in early returns overnight Wednesday, and instead, Californians appeared to favor a different way to deal with the state’s dysfunction on executions: speed up the process. By a slim margin as of early Wednesday morning, it appeared that voters would pass Proposition 66, which would set time limits on carrying out executions, and curb the appeals process.

Meanwhile, in Nebraska, voters repealed a 2015 state law that eliminated capital punishment in the state.

Opposition to the death penalty in the US has been gaining bipartisan support in a number of states that carry out capital punishment, including Ohio and Oklahoma. In Nebraska, conservative lawmakers banded together with leftist state senator Ernie Chambers to stop executions in the state, citing high financial costs and their rare occurrence. But, it turns out, voters decided those costs were worth it.

The Nebraska push was orchestrated by a pro-death penalty group supported by the state’s governor Pete Ricketts, who donated $300,000 of his own money to the cause. His family, who owns the Chicago Cubs, pitched in as well, the Omaha World Herald reported

Hanna Kozlowska is a reporter at Quartz, where this article was originally published

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