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California voters retain death penalty despite costs

LOS ANGELES — California voters rejected the latest attempt to repeal California's death penalty, dealing a blow to activists who saw this election as their best chance in 35 years to end capital punishment in the state.

Officials were still counting ballots, but it was apparent Wednesday that voters had rejected Proposition 34 by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. The defeat came even though recent polling showed concern growing over the cost of capital punishment and its paltry results in California.

California has executed just 13 convicts and its death row has ballooned to 726 inmates since 71 percentage of the electorate voted to reinstate capital punishment in 1978. No executions have taken place since 2006 because of federal and state lawsuits filed by death row inmates.

The Legislative Analyst has said ending the death penalty would save the state $130 million annually.

Still, a majority of California voters still support the punishment in California.


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