On Tuesday, Americans cast their votes for U.S. President. On the same day, citizens in Nebraska, California, and Oklahoma voted on ballot initiatives regarding the death penalty. Though our allies in these states worked tirelessly to educate voters about the death penalty’s dysfunction, the referendums did not go in favor of repeal. However, despite the fact that the outcomes are disappointing, the definitive trend away from the death penalty continues. Support for the death penalty used to be as high as 80%, and it is now reaching historic 40 year lows, despite a few losses at the polls.
Other electoral results support the trend away from the death penalty as well. District Attorneys who frequently pursued the death penalty lost elections in Florida and Texas. Governors who imposed moratoriums on the use of the death penalty were re-elected. Judges in Kansas who were attacked for their death penalty decisions were retained, and Democrats in the New Mexico Senate retained control after they refused to bring the death penalty back.
This year will be defined by historic lows with regards to new death sentences and executions, and the use of the death penalty is increasingly isolated to just a handful of counties. These election results are just blips on an otherwise clear trajectory away from capital punishment.
Unfortunately, the ballot initiatives were dominated by voter confusion and misinformation. When citizens are given accurate information about this broken system, they often move away from their support of the death penalty. Despite the results, all indications are that the death penalty will continue towards its inevitable extinction as more and more citizens get the facts.
TADP will continue to educate, mobilize, and activate Tennesseans to make repeal a reality in our state. Building common ground with conservatives, law enforcement, correctional officers, murder victims’ families, as well as partnering with our historic allies, we will continue to make the case that the death penalty is a failure, does not make us safer, and wastes resources that we could be using to support murder victims’ families and to prevent violent crime.
As 2016 draws to a close, we hope you will recommit to join us. We are standing on the edge of history as the failure of the death penalty system continues to become more evident. With your help, we can make repeal a reality. Consider supporting TADP today.
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