Friday, May 05, 2006

Death Penalty Referendum Moves to November Election

I guess since there's no longer a Republican gubernatorial primary, there's no reason to keep the dealth penalty referendum on the September ballot. The Assembly took action yesterday to move the referendum to November, and the Senate is expected to approve that move.

As I've mentioned before, the wording of death penalty questions is key. While around 60% of respondents typically give the nod for capital punishment when it's the only option presented to them, that percentage drops to around 45% when alternatives like life in prison without parole are offered.

Of course, no alternatives will be provided in the referendum question going to Wisconsin voters this fall.

Also, for an excellent analysis of the effectiveness of the death penalty (or, more accurately, lack thereof), see Paul Soglin's post from yesterday on murder rates in states that have capital punishment vs. those that do not.

UPDATE: Xoff catches an AP article that reports the GOP Assembly leadership asked three Republican members who oppose the death penalty to leave the chambers before the vote. The measure then passed by a 47-45 margin.

That's representative democracy for you, folks. The citizens of Reedsburg (Sheryl Albers), Marathon (Jerry Petrowski), and Green Bay (Judy Krawczyk) should be happy to know their representatives chose not to represent them in this vote.

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