- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale says it appears “very likely” that a petition to save the death penalty has enough valid signatures to prevent its repeal until the 2016 election.

Gale’s office said Friday that county election officials have verified and certified 120,479 signatures. Petition sponsors needed at least 113,883 to keep the Legislature’s repeal from going into effect.

State law requires that 110 percent of the required number of signatures must be certified to the state. That means 125,271 are needed before Gale can formally declare that the issue has qualified for the ballot.

So far, 68 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have certified their numbers.

Death penalty opponents sued this week to try to keep the issue off the ballot.

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