It is nearly certain that with 166K signatures boxed, they will meet the approximately 59,000 signature threshold.
Then there was the issue of getting repeal itself put on hold. That takes around 114,000 signatures, with meeting that 10% threshold in 38 of the 93 counties. They not only met that number, AND hit the 15% mark above that — which many see as the point needed to reach to go over the “bad signature” mark — they topped that amount by another 55,000.
When you are involved in this type of endeavor, you see trends. Things are different in the urban areas than rural areas. Different between big and small towns. Different at different events.
So here is some info gleaned from folks involved within the signature petition process.
They had great success in Madison, Norfolk, Columbus and Stanton.
The were generally 300-400% over the 10% goal in those areas. You will remember that the deadly 2002 bank robbery took place in Norfolk, and folks in that area have long memories.
They also did well in Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney.
Dodge and Washington counties were also very good.
In general, the signature-getters found that county fairs were very productive. (For instance, this was especially so in the Scottsbluff area.)
Areas outside the two metros of Omaha and Lincoln had more events during that period which brought in signers.
However, in the metros, they didn’t have that advantage during the time period. No Creighton basketball games. No Husker football games. No Septemberfest.
In the end, the organizers decided to concentrate on area where they knew they could capitalize on collecting signatures, and capitalize, they did.
So because of that…
Douglas and Lancaster Counties were not overarching in reaching their 10% numbers. Both may ultimately meet the 10%, but it will be seen if they end up with that, after any knock-outs. Sarpy reached as well, and will likely stay at the 10%, but that could be close.
But, meeting 10% in the largest counties is also tougher than some others, when you can’t count on a large turnout at something like a county fair.
Because of that, the collectors didn’t concentrate on Douglas and Lancaster. They went where there were better concentrations for signatures, and events where they could get more signatures.
In the end, to reach the 10% goal, they needed 10% in 38 counties.
They got that in 70 of the 93.
And the more anecdotal stuff…
Many give a lot of credit to state Senator Mike Groene. They note that he made it a personal mission to not only collect signatures, but to look at WHERE he was collecting them.*
So he and other volunteers (on their own volition — NOT at the direction of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty) went specifically to counties where Senators who voted for repeal lived. They wanted to show that the vote of Senators who voted for the Death Penalty repeal wasn’t necessarily representative of the feelings of their constituents.
State Senators Matt Williams, Mark Kolterman and Laura Ebke, they are looking your way.
*[UPDATE: Since this original post went up, I spoke with Senator Groene, who wanted to make it clear be clear about his process of collecting signatures. He stated that he did NOT go to Senator Kolterman or Ebke’s districts soliciting signatures, as might be interpreted from the statement above. He stated that to the extent that he got signatures from Senator William’s constituents or in his district, it was part of the process of getting the maximum from the county, as opposed to “targeting” a certain Senator. Which isn’t to say he didn’t want to get signatures from the districts next door. But Leavenworth St. has heard from other volunteers making a specific effort in other districts.]
Signature seekers found a lot of anecdotal evidence that their constituents are NOT happy with their votes. (The folks in the Crete area, particularly peeved with some of the non-responsiveness.)
What will happen next will be fascinating.
Stopping the Death Penalty in big red Nebraska was seen as a major turning point for the anti-Death Penalty movement. Stories were written about it worldwide.
To see it get a 180 slam from the actual people of Nebraska — as opposed to convincing 30 state Senators — would be a crushing defeat to the Anti folks.
Do not count on them going quietly into that Good Night.
Do not count on them taking a defeat lightly.
Do not count on them bringing bean-bags to this political fight.
If they lose the Presidential vote, but win the Death Penalty vote, they would gladly take that trade.
Gird yourself for the ensuing fight accordingly.