New York Voters Will Decide on November 7 Whether to Implement a State Constitutional Convention

New York voters will decide in a few months whether to call a state constitutional convention. This Village Voice article explains the process and also explains what changes might be made, if a convention is called and the convention writes a draft that makes significant changes (and then the voters would need to approve the new constitution).

New York doesn’t have the statewide initiative process, but conceivably a new constitution could add one.


New York Voters Will Decide on November 7 Whether to Implement a State Constitutional Convention — 11 Comments

  1. PR and AppV

    18 (??) States have voter petitions for stste constitutional amdts.

    Super-unlikely that NY Elephants would support VPSCA — due to the about 60-65 pct left (ie Clinton type) voters in NY.

  2. In 1997 it was voted down 38:62, and 1977 it was voted down 40:60. Even though amendments proposed by the convention would have to be approved by the voters in a second election, it is pretty easy to scare people that a constitutional convention could do away with the right of free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, etc. It might even get out of control like that convention in 1787.

    When ‘Reynolds v Sims’ was decided in 1963, there was a companion case from New York, ‘WMCA v Lomenzo’. Part of the reasoning that the cases were judiciable was that a malapportioned legislature was unlikely to propose an amendment to the constitution to end the the malapportionment. In the case of New York, there was the possibility of a constitutional convention, but in New York convention delegates are elected from senatorial districts, which were malapportioned, because the constitution was designed to keep larger counties from having too much power.

    This principle should work against those in California who want the federal court to impose a larger legislature on the State. The plaintiffs could simply propose an initiated amendment. In fact there is currently such a petition being circulated. At minimum, the plaintiffs should sue all adult citizens of Calfornia for failing to amend the state constitution.

    New York does not appear to have a statute governing the election of convention delegates. The constitution provides for three delegates from each senatorial district and 15 elected at large.

    The New York City Bar did a study with proposed regulations which were quite conservative.

    The most radical proposal was that the 15 at-large delegates NOT be elected by slate where the delegate candidates not appear on the ballot. But since the elections would be partisan, they could lead to 15 members from one party being elected.

    There are a number of bills concerning election of delegates that have been filed, but none appear to have gone past the referral to committee.

    One would use limited voting, where each voter could vote for only one senatorial delegate and one statewide delegate. The top 3 or top 15 would be elected.

    Another provides for non-partisan elections. The non-partisan primary would either be Top 3 or Top 2. For senatorial delegates, the nine candidates would advance to the general election where three would be elected, and for at-large delegates, the 30 candidates with the most votes would advance to the general election, where 15 would be elected.

    There are also proposals to reduce the number of petition signatures, and to provide public financing for delegates.

    It appears that no action will be taken until after the voters approve a convention, if they do. This could increase the FUD vote this November, as opponents could speculate on the type of delegates who would be elected (e.g. former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver).

  3. What you mentioned early on, Jim, is among the reason I’m opposed to any Federal Constitutional convention, including that proposed Article V convention. Such a convention can get out of hand and end up being hijacked by those who want to conform the Constitution into something along the lines of the UN Charter, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  4. Fears of “out-of-control” constitutional conventions, on either the state level or the federal level, are overblown. Anything that any such conventions produce still has to be ratified by complicated processes. The constitution of New Hampshire SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES that a state constitutional convention be held every 20 years. So far, nothing crazy has been produced by those conventions. In fact, New Hampshire is the very model of both low taxes and civil liberties.

  5. How many regimes have left/right top STATISTS with their left/right control freak statism —

    which they would love to be put into constitutions — world, federal, national, state, local ???

    NO shortage of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito types lurking in the shadows ready to take over.

    Other major reform with PR and AppV — TOTAL separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.

  6. @W.Z.

    As the November election approaches you will see lots of people blowing on those fears. This could be effective, given that 2017 is only local elections, and turnout could be low. If it were an even election year, you might have voters who were voting for Congress, who also vote yes on a constitutional convention (“sounds like a good idea for those do nothings” not realizing that it has little to do with the US Constitution).

    Campaign for a No Vote:

    1. It will cost a lot of money.
    2. It will be the same corrupt politicians who run the show now.
    3. It will be a bunch of loonies who can’t get elected to a regular office.
    4. Legislators will be able to double dip, serving as legislators and delegates.
    5. They could get double credit for their pensions.
    6. Sheldon Silver/Andrew Cuomo/Bill de Blasio/Hillary Clinton/Michael Bloomberg/Donald Trump could be elected as delegates.
    7. It will put NYC in charge of the state.
    8. It will put NYC under state control.
    9. It will impose right to work laws.
    10. It will eliminate freedom of speech.
    11. Albany will control access to the Internet just like Beijing does.
    12. No, it could be worse. It will be like in North Korea.
    13. It will eliminate the right to bear arms.
    14. It will eliminate the right to bare arms.
    15. Hijabs will be required.
    16. Once everyone is required to be armed and in the militia, the government will want to invade neighboring states.
    17. Who is going to pay for arms for amputees?

  7. JR –
    Campaign for a YES vote–

    Perhaps a 1 line simple NY State Const — Leader H. Clinton (or her chosen successor) shall be the absolute monarch in New York State with total legislative, executive and judicial powers.

    [See Leader A. Hitler in Germany in 1934 (after Prez Hindenburg died) – 1945]

    [See earlier Roman Empire – after even the Roman Senate was wiped out.]
    PR and AppV — in sane regimes.

  8. The Roman Senate was never formally abolished, altho it became a virtual rubber stamp for the Emperor. Byzantine Emperors were appointing “Senators” well into the Medieval period.

  9. The Roman assembly and Roman Senate had major ROT after A.C. took over in 27 BC — after about 100 years of left/right chaos, multiple civil wars, purges-

    Thus – deja vu — all over again in the USA — esp since 1912 Wilson (later WW I)/ 1932 Roosevelt (later WW II) / 1972 Nixon / 2016 Trump.

    PR and AppV

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