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Election News

October 23, 2017

Know The Facts: The New York State Constitutional Convention

Know The Facts: The New York State Constitutional Convention


What is the Constitutional Convention?

This fall, New York residents must decide if they will call for a convention to amend the state’s constitution. The current New York state constitution requires a referendum every 20 years to ask voters if they want a convention to propose amendments outside of the normal process used in the state legislature.

New York has called eight state conventions since John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert R. Livingston drafted its first constitution, which was approved in April 1777, about 10 months after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. The last convention, approved by the voters, was held in 1967


The Purpose of the Con Con

The purpose of New York’s periodic constitutional convention referendum is to allow New Yorkers’ the democratic right to alter their constitution in cases where the interests of the legislature and people conflict.

New York’s Constitution allows the people to exercise this right once every twenty years. To ensure a democratic process, the convention is independent of the legislature’s control. 

Democratic accountability in the process is sought by granting the people three votes over the process:

1.      To call a conventio

2.      To elect delegates to a convention

3.      To ratify any amendments a convention might propose for their consideration.


What is the voting timeline?

  • Popular Vote on Convention Referendum: November 7, 2017
  • Popular vote for convention delegates: November 6, 2018
  • Convention Convenes: April 2, 2019
  • November 5, 2019: Popular vote on convention proposals


For additional information including Pros and Cons please visit: New York Campaign Finance Board’s website at: