California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Monday certified a fifth measure for the November 6, 2012 General Election ballot. The measure would repeal the death penalty and joins four other measures already on the November ballot:
• a water bond measure, which was placed on the ballot by the Legislature
• a political contribution measure, which qualified through the initiative process
• an auto insurance measure, which also qualified through the initiative process
• a measure to repeal the State Senate District maps, which qualified through the referendum process
In order to qualify for the ballot, the death penalty repeal initiative needed 504,760 valid petition signatures, which is equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. A measure can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number. The death penalty repeal initiative needed at least 555,236 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold Monday.
County elections officials have 30 working days to verify the validity of the signatures filed with their offices using a random sampling method. The state Elections Code requires county elections officials to verify 500 signatures or three percent of the number of signatures filed in the county, whichever is greater. Counties receiving fewer than 500 petition signatures are required to verify all the signatures filed in their elections offices.
The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:
DEATH PENALTY REPEAL. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death. Requires persons found guilty of murder to work while in prison, with their wages to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. Creates $100 million fund to be distributed to law-enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net savings to the state and counties that could amount to the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis due to the elimination of the death penalty. One-time state costs totaling $100 million from 2012-13 through 2015-16 to provide funding to local law-enforcement agencies. (11-0035.)
For more information about the initiative process and history in California, go to sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/initiative-guide.htm .
Keep up with the latest California election news and trivia by following @CASOSvote on Twitter. To sign up for ballot measure updates via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to sos.ca.gov/multimedia .
Source: Secretary of State’s office