According to The Guardian, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe has a rather ghoulish decision on his hands: if he chooses to sign the bill currently on his desk into effect before midnight, Virginia prisons will be authorized to execute the accused with an electric chair rather horrifyingly dubbed “Old Sparky.”
Currently, Virginian death row inmates are given the choice between the chair and lethal injection when faced with their sentences. The bill at hand would make the electric chair the compulsory option.
McAuliffe, who has given no hints as to his thinking on the issue thus far, is closely associated with the Clinton campaign and was last week urged by 300 Virginian religious leaders to veto the bill, which they referred to as a “barbarous relic.” Says The Guardian:
The chair was first used in 1908 to kill a black man convicted of the rape of a white woman. Since then, 217 of the 267 people who have died by electrocution have been African American.