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New York State Constitutional Convention: What You Need to Know

On Election Day this November 7th, New York State voters will be asked to vote Yes or No for the State to hold a Constitutional Convention. You have likely already seen commercials and bumper stickers on this subject and just as likely, have no idea what it really means. You are not alone. Most people do not know what this is all about, let alone how to vote. So we will break it down for you.


How it Works

The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years, we, the voters, must consider whether the New York State Constitution needs any reforms, additions, amendments or updates to keep up with the times. A vote of Yes this November moves the process along whereby 204 convention delegates would be elected by voters in November 2018 for the sole purpose of holding a convention to review proposed reforms to the State Constitution. The Convention itself would not actually begin until April of 2019. The delegates would have to agree by a majority rule to put any proposed amendments on the ballot and we, the voters, would ultimately vote on any such proposed changes or amendments to the New York State Constitution.


November 7, 2017: Vote Yes or No for the New York State Constitutional Convention 

November 2018: Voters elect 204 Convention delegates

April 2019: Convention begins in Albany

November 2019: People of New York vote on proposed amendments to the State Constitution


What’s at Issue

Potential areas of concern or areas for improvement or reform:

♦ Text revisions and updates: Elimination of obsolete, defective or superseded provisions in the New York State Constitution (adopted in 1894) or those in conflict with the US Constitution

♦ “Home Rule”: Issue of the proper balance between state and local government, such as should Albany or your County decide whether to allow Uber in your neighborhood, raise sales taxes, make civil service rules, including pension requirements or collective bargaining agreements 

♦ Court Reform: Opportunity to modernize and streamline New York’s Court system

♦ Environmental Protections: Opportunity to seek State clean air and clean water protections

This is an important matter put to New York State voters only once every 20 years. It is designed to give every generation a voice. It will be up to us…We the People… to accept or reject any proposed amendments at the end of this 3-year process.

The choice is ours so it is important to make an informed decision. Contact your State or local government representative for more information.

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