On November 7th, 2017, New York voters will go to the ballot to decide whether the state should hold a constitutional convention (otherwise known as ‘ConCon.’)
Section 2 of Article XIX of the New York State constitution requires that voters be given the opportunity to vote on the question “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” every 20 years.
The ballot question is as follows:
- The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the State Constitution. The purpose of this Ballot Question is to allow the voters of New York State to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held in 2019.
- If a majority voting on this Question votes NO, there will be no Constitutional Convention.
- If a majority votes YES, three delegates from each state senatorial district and 15 at-large statewide delegates will be elected in November 2018. The delegates will convene at the Capitol in April 2019. Amendments adopted by a majority of the delegates will be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection in a statewide referendum to be held at least six weeks after the Convention adjourns. The delegates will determine whether to submit proposed amendments as separate questions. Any amendments that the voters approve will go into effect on the January 1 following their approval.
- If a majority votes in favor of a Constitutional Convention, then the delegates will receive for their services the same compensation as that payable to Members of the Assembly. The delegates also will be reimbursed for actual traveling expenses while the Convention is in session, to the extent that Members of the Assembly would be entitled reimbursement during a session of the Legislature.
- The delegates will have the power to appoint the officers, employees, and assistants that they deem necessary and to fix the compensation of those officers, employees, and assistants. The delegates also will have the power to provide for the expenses of the Convention, including the printing of its documents, journal, and proceedings. The delegates will determine the rules of their proceedings, choose their officers, and be the judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of their members. A vacancy in an office of district delegate will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates representing the district in which the vacancy occurs; a vacancy in the office of a delegate-at-large will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates-at-large.
If a majority of voters elect to hold a constitutional convention, 204 convention delegates would be selected on November 6, 2018, with the convention to be held on April 2, 2019. Any changes to the constitution would need to be ratified by voters at the statewide ballot on November 5, 2019.
A recent Sienna College survey found that 57% of voters surveyed oppose a constitutional convention, while only 25% support it. In the same poll, by a 60-29% margin, voters feel “nothing good will get done” at such a convention.
Polls open on Tuesday, November 7th, at 6am and close at 9pm. Voters can find their polling location at the board of elections website.