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Californians voters going to the polls in November will again decide the fate of the death penalty.

A measure to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life behind bars without parole has qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot, the Secretary of State confirmed today. The measure, backed by a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union and some law enforcement and victims rights groups, would apply to inmates currently on death row.

Supporters say capital punishment, which voters added to the state's books in 1978, costs California more than $100 million a year while leading to very few executions because of the time it takes to go through the appeals process.

Proponents had submitted to election officials nearly 800,000 petition signatures earlier this year. The measure officially made the cut after a random signature check conducted by counties projected that at least 555,236 of those signatures were from registered voters.

The death penalty initiative is the fifth ballot measure to be added to the November ballot. Voters are also set to consider a measure banning the use of automatic payroll deduction to collect money for political spending, a measure on auto insurance rates, a referendum to overturn the newly drawn state Senate district maps and a $11 billion in bonds for water infrastructure projects and conservation.



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