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Running the Table on the Death Penalty

Here are results on death penalty ballot measures as of 6:40 am PST:

Nebraska:  Referendum 426 to repeal the Legislature's repeal of the death penalty, thereby reinstating capital punishment in the state approved 61-39.  All precincts completely reporting.

Oklahoma:  Question 776 to amend the state constitution to preclude any doubt of the constitutionality of the death penalty approved 66-34.  All precincts completely reporting.

California, with 99.4% of precincts reporting (not all completely): 

Proposition 62 to repeal the death penalty defeated 46-54.

Proposition 66 to speed up the review of capital cases approved 51-49.

Note that California voters rejected repeal by double the margin that they rejected Proposition 34 four years ago.

Why the squeaker on 66?  A confusing ballot label did not really tell the voters what it is about, so the people who had not paid much attention to the issue before going into the voting booth did not know.  Californians tend to vote no on ballot measures when they are confused or uncertain.  In addition, a profoundly dishonest campaign of mailers, advertisements, and articles by the opponents telling outright lies about the proposition doubtless convinced many people who agree with the proposition's goals to nonetheless vote against it.

Update 11/14:  Yet despite all that, Proposition 66 still appears headed for victory.  With further information on the scope of uncounted ballots, my prior assessment of the unlikelihood of a change in result went too far, but a change is still unlikely.  The opponents seem to think so, too, because they have spent the resources to file a meritless suit to stop enforcement of Proposition 66 even before it is certified.


Kent --

I cannot imagine greater or more satisfying vindication for your efforts. Congratulations.

A question if I might: With the abolitionist effort in a very blue state having lost by twice the margin it did four years ago, and Scalia's seat almost sure to be filled by a nominee who finds the death penalty both constitutional and just, do you have any idea where abolitionism goes from here?

They never admit defeat, but avoiding that admission here is going to require a kind of mental gymnastics we haven't seen before.

I hope Proposition 66 passes. However, I suspect there are still 2-5 million election day and unprocessed ballots remaining.

Some previous election numbers:
- 2016 primary: 8.5 million;
- 2014 general: 7.5 million;
- 2012 general: 13.2 million;
- 2008 general: 13.7 million.

It will be very close.

Thanks, Bill. I will post on this a bit later today.

According to the SOS page a total of 9.75 million votes were cast:


see total

About 8.2 million votes have been counted, Prop 34 had a six point lead on election day and wound up at about four per cent. However, that was with much higher turnout (13 million) and many more votes to count. I think 66 hangs on, by something like 50-70 thousand votes.

The first Unprocessed Ballot summary posted this afternoon.

There appears to be 4.3m ballot remaining to be tabulated. In addition, I believe ballots postmarked on or before Election Day can be counted if received via mail by Monday. This means there may be more than 4.3m ballots remaining.

The summary can be viewed by selecting the pdf at: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/unprocessed-ballots-status/

Here is the county voting breakdown for Prop 66 by county. http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/maps/ballot-measures/prop/66/

Doing some tabletop math, about 2.5m votes remain from counties that are, so far, voting NO. Just under half of those 2.5m remaining to be counted, however, are from LA County.

It will be close.

Looks like the 9.75 on the website may refer to the actual live bodies that showed up at the polls on Tuesday. Here's a link to the uncounted mail and provisional tabulation which also will have ramifications with regard to the popular vote discussion:


By my calculation, if the unprocessed ballots for each county come in at the same percentages as the counted ballots, the final percentages will be essentially the same.

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