Why Not a Con Con?


Civic participation is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is the reason why the founders of the great State of New York wrote into its constitution that residents be given a choice every 20 years to hold a constitutional convention.

Unfortunately, hosting a conclave of civic-minded people to discuss, debate and ultimately decide to change our constitution is an exercise worthy of consideration that is better in theory than in practice.

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10 Things to Know About the Constitutional Convention


1. The law provides two methods to amend the constitution; either by statewide referendum or by the convening of a convention to revise and amend the document.

2. As per the constitution, every 20 years, residents are given a choice as to whether they want to hold a constitutional convention or not.

3. A statewide referendum is the alternative to a Constitutional Convention. This process allows a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an individual ballot question.

4. Constitutional conventions are mini-legislative sessions. They are held in Albany and the delegates are voted in the same way state legislators are.

5. A convention comes at a significant cost to the state, including the additional pension credits that sitting politicians gain.

6. The New York State Constitution has been amended over two hundred times in the past one hundred years.

7. Many delegates at the Constitutional Convention are able to use the process as a way to promote their pet causes while collecting a paycheck from the state.

8. A statewide referendum has been used to make changes to the constitution seven times since 2013.

9. In the 1967 Constitutional Convention, the most recent one to be held, voters rejected all proposals as a result of the convention.

10. In 1977 and 1997, voters said ‘no’ to holding a Constitutional Convention.

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