Shari Silberstein, executive director of Equal Justice USA, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based anti-death penalty organization, said working with conservatives is about common sense and common ground.

“It’s not really an ideological question,” Silberstein said.

The effort has been backed by Richard Viguerie, a fundraiser and activist considered the father of the modern conservative movement. Viguerie, in a July 2009 essay in Sojourners magazine, wrote that executions are supposed to take the life of the guilty — but noted there are enough flaws in the system to fear an innocent person has been put to death.

Viguerie noted that death row inmates have been exonerated by DNA evidence, raising the prospect that prosecutors and juries made mistakes in cases without scientific evidence and in cases that predate the science.

“To conservatives, that should be deemed as immoral as abortion,” Viguerie wrote.