It won’t be official until the Secretary of State’s office confirms the signatures over the next 40 days, but it seems death penalty repeal will be on the November 2016 ballot. We are confident the more people learn about the death penalty the less likely they are to support it.  Please stick with us through 2016 as we continue to spread the word about the realities of the death penalty.

A statement from NADP:

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NADP) is closely monitoring the initial results of the death penalty referendum signature gathering campaign, and will await the official decision from the Secretary of State’s office. However, today proponents of the death penalty are claiming to have enough signatures to suspend the legislature’s bi-partisan repeal of capital punishment in advance of the 2016 general election.

“In spite of apparently qualifying, the number of signatures appears to be underwhelming given the expectations created by those who would like to keep this broken and wasteful system that we can’t use and don’t need,” said Rev. Stephen Griffith, incoming Executive Director of NADP. “Just like the legislators they elected, we believe the more Nebraskans learn about the failures of capital punishment, the more they will be inclined to get rid of it.”

Although the death penalty referendum appears to have obtained signatures from 10-percent of registered voters, it failed to attract broad-based financial support, with governor Ricketts, his father, and a handful of their associates providing the bulk of funds.

“It is evident that grassroots Nebraskans have already rejected the death penalty with their pocketbooks,” Griffith said.

During the next 14 months NADP and their project, Nebraska Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP), will continue doing what it has done for three decades; having conversations with Nebraskans across the political spectrum about why capital punishment has failed our state.

Matt Maly, Coordinator for Nebraska CCATDP said, “As Nebraskans keep learning about the risk of executing innocents, the prolonged anguish for victims’ families, and the tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars, we’re confident they’ll keep turning against the death penalty.”

The undeniable and unfixable problems with capital punishment caused the Nebraska Legislature to vote overwhelmingly three times to repeal the death penalty and then override the governor’s veto.

Maly said, “Once our state’s Second House learns all of the facts, we are confident they too will reject our broken death penalty.”



Sarah and EffieAfter a rigorous and exciting campaign to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska, Field Organizers Effie Caldarola and Sarah Barrett have both decided to move on to the next step in their lives. Sarah will be moving to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month to finish up her master’s degree in mental health counseling. Effie will be stepping up her freelance writing activity and spending more time with her granddaughter.

NADP is tremendously grateful to these women for the dedication, tenacity, insights, and warmth of spirit they brought to this work.  Many of you have worked directly with Sarah or Effie and know personally what incredible organizers they are.  Their efforts were instrumental to our success.  Thank you for helping us make history in Nebraska!

 “I have loved my time with NADP and learned so much as both a field organizer and as a person. I truly believe one of the greatest honors of my life was getting to play a small part in repealing Nebraska’s death penalty. I was blessed to work with so many wonderful people and I will take those memories with me!  If you want to stay in touch, you can reach me on my personal email at”   – Sarah Barrett


“My three years with NADP have been fruitful and exciting. Traveling around the state with Sister Helen Prejean, Frank Thompson, Curtis McCarty and others and watching them hold audiences enthralled was amazing.  Speaking to people from Scottsbluff to Omaha about repeal made me realize Nebraskans respond warmly to education on the death penalty issue. We are a very “common sense” state, and when audiences heard the facts they agreed that the death penalty is a failed system. Meeting so many dedicated volunteers and seeing thoughtful legislators take bold action gave me a greater understanding of our state’s political system and what makes it strong. As we potentially face a fight to keep repeal, I hope Nebraskans will dedicate themselves to educating our neighbors on this historic issue. I treasure the years I’ve had working withNADP.”  — Effie Caldarola

With just ten days left, the opposition has increased their presence, especially in Lincoln and Omaha.  it is going to come down to the wire whether or not we can prevent them from having the signatures needed to try to undo repeal. Every volunteer educator we can have in the field is making a huge difference, but we need more volunteers to keep up with the opposition.

Volunteering is easy!  We will connect a volunteer with a trainer (either in person or over the phone) for a quick overview to make sure they are comfortable, provide them with handouts and then, at their convenience, we ask them to visit high traffic area like a post office or DMV to pass out information.  With signature gatherers out in record numbers, it has never been more important to get volunteer educators present.

To get involved or for more information, please email Zack with Nebraskans for Public Safety.

We are so thankful for your help and excited to finish the campaign strong with you!

Three years after their legislature prospectively repealed their death penalty (leaving 11 men still on death row), Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled their death penalty unconstitutional!  Nebraska, and now Connecticut, are the latest developments in what is a quickly growing national trend away from the death penalty.  We think you’ll enjoy this powerful piece from a Connecticut murder victims’ family member who helped bring about CT repeal.

NADP Executive Director Stephen GriffithThe Board of Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has announced that Rev. Stephen Griffith will become Executive Director of the organization. Rev. Griffith, a life-long Nebraskan, has served United Methodist congregations in Hardy, Bertrand, Loomis, Lexington, Osceola, Omaha, and Lincoln. His ministerial career concluded in June after 13 years serving Saint Paul United Methodist in downtown Lincoln.

“The voices of faith leaders have been important as Nebraskans realize that the death penalty is a broken system that fails to provide justice,” said Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Board President Laurel Johnson. “Since 1981, it has been NADP’s mission to have a conversation with all Nebraskans about this failed experiment. We are thrilled that Rev. Griffith will be talking to Nebraskans about why alternatives to the death penalty makes the most sense for taxpayers and for public safety as well as the broad support of death penalty alternatives from faith leaders.”

“It was 32 years ago that I first spoke publicly about the sacredness of all life and the ineffectiveness of the death penalty,” said Rev. Griffith. “I may have retired from the pulpit but my lifelong work is to carry a message of compassion and hope. While my support of death penalty alternatives comes from my faith and belief that God can work in the life of every person, I’m excited to join with other Nebraskans who oppose the death penalty for many reasons: faith, the waste of taxpayer dollars and the harm it does to victims’ families. In many roles I’ve brought together and leaders from business, health care, education, human service organizations, neighborhoods, state, city and county government. I believe most Nebraskans already understand that Nebraska’s death penalty is unworkable. I’m excited to continue the conversation about smart alternatives that NADP has been having for over three decades.”

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty seeks a dynamic and collaborative Executive Director to educate the public about the need to reject the death penalty in Nebraska.

The Executive Director will serve as the primary spokesperson for NADP, conducting outreach and public engagement with forums, panels, and rallies. Responsibilities will include collaborating with partner organizations, conducting day-to-day administrative activities, managing a small staff, and engaging NADP members across the state.

Candidates for the position of Executive Director should have a profound commitment to social justice, a passion for ending the death penalty and the communication skills to effectively convey to the public and a variety of important constituencies the mission, vision, program and activities of NADP.

The salary range begins at $38,000 and adjusted upwards to level of experience. There is a health stipend but no insurance benefits.

To learn more about the work of NADP, visit

Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications should include a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and the name of three references. Email your resume to:

NADP is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, veterans, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Vote board on the motion to override the Governor's veto of death penalty repeal.

Vote board on the motion to override the Governor’s veto of death penalty repeal.

We did it! After overcoming two filibusters and a veto, the Nebraska Unicameral voted 30-19 to repeal the death penalty. A tremendous thank you to the thousands of people who brought us to this moment after decades of hard work.

Please take a moment to thank your Senator for their repeal support!

Then follow-up with a handwritten thank you note for added effect. There is nothing more touching than a personal thank you. These 30 Senators deserve to hear congratulatory messages from their dedicated constituents!

Media coverage

People across the country are taking notice of the landmark victory in Nebraska! We’ve received mountains of positive press, in both Nebraska and around the globe. Check out some of the great articles below:

“Nebraska’s death penalty is repealed” – Lincoln Journal Star

“Hansen: One Nebraska state senator’s long, hard journey from death penalty backer to execution opponent” – Omaha World Herald

“How America’s Death Penalty Ends” – Politco

“Bipartisan effort ends death penalty in Nebraska” – National Catholic Reporter

“Nebraska vote ‘signals death knell’ for US capital punishment” – The Telegraph (UK)

“Nebraska becomes first conservative state in 40 years to repeal the death penalty” –Mother Jones

“Nebraska bans death penalty, defying a veto” – New York Times