Final Appeal: Wisconsin Death Penalty Vote Tomorrow!

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Tomorrow the Wisconsin Senate is expected to vote whether to place the issue of the death penalty on the November election ballot.

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty -- and many of our allied groups -- have been working hard to try to defeat this proposed referendum.

If you live in Wisconsin we urge you to click here to take action:


Today, we are proud to distribute this eve-of-vote appeal from our state affiliate, the Wisconsin Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty:

Dear Friends;

Many thanks from the Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty, for your efforts to oppose SJR-5, which would put an advisory referendum on the ballot in November regarding the death penalty.

The vote is Tuesday, May 16, and you may watch and hear it live on your computer, by going to:

If you have not yet called your own state senator on this issue, please do so NOW.

This is a most excellent 30 page summary of the history of legislation like this in Wisconsin, which you may want to read for background:

Our own talking points for those senators who voted for the referendum, are personally opposed to the death penalty, but are feeling pressure, are to begin by saying: "We respect that reasonable people may disagree on the issue of capitol punishment." Then go on to say:

1. You are on record as supporting an advisory referendum in September, when it would be the ONLY referendum question on the ballot. We think that if we are to have one, it should be in September, when voters could focus on the question and there could be a good public debate, but not in November, when there cannot be such a debate.

2. The Assembly changed the date of the vote to November, when it will be competing with the constitutional amendment question, about which there will be great public debate. That vote does have legally binding effect; the death penalty question does not. Voters will be confused by putting these different kinds of questions on the same ballot. The debate about the death penalty will be drowned out by the debate on the constitutional amendment.

And, it is poor public policy to put such different questions, with such different legal effects, on the same ballot.

3. You can say that you support a referendum and want it to be "clean"; that is, the only such public policy question on the ballot.

4. If you vote to amend the resolution back to the original September referendum date, the Assembly will be able to reconsider it during one of the veto sessions, as they can easily add an extraordinary session for that day. So you are NOT voting to kill, just standing on your position that this should occur in September, as you originally voted. Please vote to amend, and if the amendment fails, please vote NO on having the referendum in November.

Again, thank you for whatever you can do, have done, and will do in the future.

Arthur Thexton
Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Inc.


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