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UPDATE: Steps Towards An Override

On June 21, Gov. Sununu vetoed SB 593 after it had passed both chambers of the NH Legislature with bipartisan majorities.  Our next opportunity is the override vote that is scheduled to take place on September 13.

We need just two votes in the Senate  to achieve the needed supermajority of 16 out of 24 senators. At this time, we can report that we are encouraged by conversations we are having with some of the senators who did not vote for repeal. And we need to be able to turn out our repeal supporters in the House to achieve a 2/3 majority of those present and voting. Between those who voted for SB 593 and pro-repeal Reps who were not present at that vote, we believe we have a good shot at reaching this target.

Here are the actions that we are undertaking, and that we are asking your help with:

1)  Write to Newspapers. Please write a letter to the editor (LTE) of your local newspaper or our state newspaper, the Union Leader, in the weeks leading up to the override vote. Feel free to use our LTE  tool on this page – just enter your information and it will give you an opportunity to select your newspaper(s) before writing your letter. To respond specifically to Gov. Sununu’s arguments,  you can read his veto statement here: Sununu SB593 Veto Statement.  You can also read what the Concord Monitor and our own Barbara Keshen wrote in response to the governor’s statement here: Barbara Keshen and the Monitor Push back on Veto.

2)  Write to Lawmakers. If you live in NH, please write your  House Rep(s) and Senator in the weeks leading up to the override vote on September 13.  If they voted for repeal (Senate Yeas | House Yeas), thank them, remind them about the override vote on September 13, and request that they be present for it. If they did not  vote for repeal (Senate Nays | House Nays), gently offer your best brief arguments, along with links to relevant resources (e.g., deterrence statistics, exonerations, costs, etc.). Thank them for their consideration.

3)  Become a Member. If you’re not already a member of NHCADP, please consider signing up here: Become a Member (free!), so you can receive email updates and action requests on our campaigns.  Providing your NH contact information helps us connect you with your local Reps and your district Senator for specific outreach actions where you can make the most difference.

4)  Support our film project.  We are currently working on a Law Enforcement documentary film project. Our aim with this is to directly challenge Gov. Sununu’s claim that supporting law enforcement requires supporting the death penalty. We are featuring  authorities like: former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, John Broderick; former NH Attorney General Philip McLaughlin; John Breckenridge, the partner of slain Manchester police officer Michael Briggs; Barbara Keshen, former NH Assistant Attorney General and Public Defender, among others.  Learn more and donate here:

5)  Sign up for phone banking.  As mentioned above, the difference that will make the difference in the House is ensuring that pro-repeal Representatives show up and vote on September 13. To that end, our phone banking will focus on reaching each and every one of these Reps to help make sure we can reach our 2/3 supermajority in the House on September 13. This action will involve making multiple phone calls directly after Labor Day until you definitively reach each Rep on your list. Sign up by emailing us here:


Barbara Keshen and the Monitor Push back on Veto

This week, the Concord Monitor published a hard-hitting editorial, “A Penalty of Death is Not Justice,” which in part says, “We believe that even in the most horrific cases it is wrong for the state to engage in pre-meditated murder, which is what capital punishment amounts to. No matter how deep the pain of loss, capital punishment does not make anything better, or anything right. It will never bring a single soul back.” The editorial makes a good case for why the legislature should vote to override the governor’s veto. Read the full editorial here.

Yesterday, the Monitor published Barbara Keshen’s response to the governor’s veto, after the Union Leader refused to publish it. In the opinion piece, titled “Death Penalty Arguments Used by Sununu in Veto Don’t Hold Up,” the Coalition’s chairperson challenged Gov. Sununu’s three main arguments for the death penalty: that it delivers justice for crime victims; that it protects law enforcement officers; and that it is used only for “the most heinous murders.” Read Barbara’s full piece here. (Let’s drive a ton of traffic to that page!)

We’re asking all Coalition members to follow suit and write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and/or the state newspaper, the Union Leader. Feel free to use our form on this page.  Please take a few minutes to pen your thoughts to let your fellow citizens know that the time for abolition is now. Thank you!

If the above links to articles are no longer active, you can download these letters (PDFs) below: