either repeals the death penalty in California or speeds it up
62 failed, 66 passed
Death penalty will remain in California. More courts and the process around selecting lawyers to represent inmates will change in an attempt to speed up the appeals process. In addition, laws around the method of execution will become more flexible in an attempt to actually execute those on Death Row.
What do we do with the 748 people on Death Row?
Complexity of issue: πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”
First, we'll explain how the competing propositions are trying to fix the problems with capital punishment, then we'll present arguments for and against the propositions. It should be noted, that if both pass, the one with the most Yes votes supersedes the other.
Prop 62: Repeal it
The goal is get rid of the death penalty. A Yes on 62:
  • Repeals the death penalty in California
  • Replaces the penalty with a life sentence without possibility for parole, and applies retroactively to those on Death Row
Prop 66: Quicken it
The goal is to fix the death penalty. A Yes on 66:
  • Keeps the death penalty
  • Speeds up the appeals process by expanding which courts and attorneys work on the cases, and by setting deadlines.
  • Allows the state to transfer death row inmates among prisons. Right now, they're all at San Quentin or Chowchilla.[3]
Some things you might not have known
Let's start with some interesting things. First, of the 930 people who've been sentenced to death since 1978, when the law was enacted, only 15 have been executed. The last time somebody in California was executed was over ten years ago, in 2006.

Why is it so difficult to execute someone? Well, this is where it gets complex. There are (at least) three sub-problems, not independent of each other, but we'll present them as such.

Let's just pretend that you've been convicted of first-degree murder and were also sentenced to death. Spoiler alert: it will probably take decades before you're executed.
Sub-problem #1: too many cases, not enough courts or lawyers
A long, and often delayed, series of appeals must confirm your execution. This judicially necessary process is long for various reasons. Currently, only the California Supreme Court can hear habeus corpus petitions, and only the California Supreme Court can appoint attorneys for these petitions.[3]
Prop 62's solution
  • Replace inmates' death penalty sentence with life without possibility of parole.
  • Any pending appeals will be reassigned to Courts of Appeals or the trial courts.
Prop 66's solution
  • Placing a time limit of 5 years on the appeals process.
  • Allowing (the lower) trial courts to hear some of the appeals.
  • Requiring attorneys who take any criminal appeals to take death penalty appeals.
Sub-problem #2: death row inmates are hella expensive
Roughly $150 million/year could be saved if they were resentenced to life without possibility of parole. Inmates are held in solitary confinement (much more expensive), and whenever they are outside their cells, they are escorted by one or two officers. Almost all men are held at San Quentin State Prison, and women at Central California Women's Facility. Not to mention the $55 million spent by the state on the legal challenges mentioned above.[3]
Prop 62's solution
  • Repeal the death penalty.
  • These inmates, now on life without possibility of parole, would no longer have to be in solitary confinement.
  • Require, with some exceptions, that inmates work during their sentence, with 60% of wages going to repay debt owed to victims.
Prop 66's solution
  • Execute inmates more expediently, by changing legal procedures to speed up the appeals process
  • Allow Death Row inmates to be moved to other state prisons
  • Require, with some exceptions, that inmates work during their sentence, with 70% of wages going to repay debt owed to victims.
Sub-problem #3: lethal injections have an uphill battle
The reason California hasn't executed someone in 10 years is because of intense legal battles on the procedure of lethal injection.[6] To complicate things further, of the four possible drug cocktails approved, half are no longer produced or obtainable, and the other two have never been used before in an execution. Check out WNYC's More Perfect podcast about the supply of one of the cocktails.
Prop 62's solution
  • Repeal the death penalty, no longer requiring a constitutional procedure for execution.
Prop 66's solution
  • Exempt the state's executions procedure from the Administrative Procedures Act, effectively allowing the state to create new execution methods without public comment or oversight
  • If legal challenges arise to the method of execution (including federal court orders), a method must be devised and approved.
An informed debate
If we repeal the death penalty and replace with life without possibility of parole, the state would save $150 million a year.
The state has spent $4B on 15 executions.
It's expensive because these criminals wait for decades while their sentence is appealed. $55M a year.
Right now, half of Death Row is waiting for a lawyer.
These people have committed the most heinous crimes. First-degree murder with extra heinous-ness. Imagine if they escaped – they'd have nothing left to lose.
The death penalty does not deter criminals from committing heinous acts.
We're the only western country to have capital punishment.
Even the guy who wrote the proposition in 1978 to bring back capital punishment in CA now wants it abolished.
The reason it hasn't been working is because people like you have been impeding it. By either making lethal injection illegal in various ways, or by extending the petition process.
I think we both agree the process is broken. We need to fix it.
Colorado tried a similar law to Prop 66, a two year limit on appeals, and it has failed.
More reading
Information last updated: Oct 9, 2016

Mostly impartial information
[1] Full text of the proposition
[2] Ballotpedia details for 62
[3] Ballotpedia details for 66
[4] Legislative Analyst's Office summary for 62
[5] Legislative Analyst's Office summary for 66
[6] Legal history of the death penalty in CA
[$] Voter's Edge: where's the money coming from on 62?
[$] Voter's Edge: where's the money coming from on 66?
Arguments FOR Prop 62
[7] LA Times: Yes on 62, No on 66
[8] Mercury News: Yes on 62, No on 66
[9] SF Chronicle: Yes on 62, No on 66
[10] OC Register: Yes on 62, No on 66
Arguments FOR Prop 66
[?] No known editorial board supports 66. Please email if you find one.

Note: we intentionally omit the official arguments/rebuttals found in the official voter guide. We believe they exaggerate claims, mislead through emotions, and use ALL CAPS irresponsibly.