"Proposition 34: Death penalty repeal fails," is the Silicon Valley Mercury News report by Howard Mintz and Matt O'Brien.
California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have repealed the state's death penalty.
Proposition 34 lost by about 6 percentage points, dimming the hopes of death penalty opponents who were trying to abolish the death penalty in California and clear the largest death row in the nation.
Proposition 34 marked the first opportunity in more than three decades for California voters to decide whether to retain the death penalty, which has been scrapped by a number of other states in recent years.
"I'm not surprised we're down in early voting," said Natasha Minsker, Proposition 34's campaign manager. "We're still hopeful. They will get higher as the night goes on."
The measure would have replaced the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole and converted the death sentences of California's 727 death row inmates to life. It would have reverberated through the national debate over the death penalty, while immediately removing nearly a quarter of the more than 3,100 death row inmates now awaiting execution across the country.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise posts AP's filing, "PROPOSITION 34: Death penalty initiative loses."
Death penalty opponents saw their effort to abolish capital punishment fall behind in early returns late Tuesday.
64.5 percent of voters had voted no by midnight and 35.5 percent of voters had voted yes.
Voters in the state with the nation's largest death row were deciding whether to repeal the death penalty. Proponents of Proposition 34 say incarceration and litigation costs are too high for too little return.
California has spent about $4 billion since capital punishment resumed in 1977, yet just 13 inmates have been put to death.
An independent analysis says the state would save between $100 million and $130 million a year by converting death sentences to life-without-parole, money supporters say could be put toward public schools and local law enforcement investigations.
"The death penalty is a giant rathole where so much of California's budget is thrown with no discernible benefit," said Dionne Wilson, whose husband, a police officer, was killed by a man now on death row.
A supporter of Proposition 34, she said the death sentence given to her husband's killer "didn't change anything. I still don't have a husband and my children and family are devastated."
Earlier coverage from California begins at the link.