- November 7, 2017 -
Turn your ballot over and vote NO!
On November 7, 2017, the voters of New York will be asked to decide whether the state should undertake the redrafting of the state's charter document - the New York State Constitution. Under Article 19, section 2 of the Constitution, the voters are asked every 20 years:
"Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend same?"
This vote will overshadow all other decisions citizens of the Empire State will be asked to make on November 7. The outcome could have far-reaching effects for decades to come on our members, our retirees, and our students and families.
The provisions of the state constitution protect us as citizens, public employees, union members and educators. Opening up these provisions to haphazard and wholesale changes could be detrimental to our working conditions, our retirement security and our ability to provide our students with a sound and basic education.
Constitutional Convention Resources
Constitutional Convention Q&A's
Why will New Yorkers be asked in November to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention?
The state constitution requires that this question appear on the ballot every 20 years; the question does not arise from public need or demand.
Is a convention the only way to modify the state constitution?
No, state lawmakers may propose constitutional amendments, which must pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be sent to voters for final ratification.
Why is it a bad idea to hold a constitutional convention?
A constitutional convention is unlimited in the scope of what it could change. This would place New York State’s rights and protections at risk of alteration or elimination.
What's at stake?
The right to unionize and bargain collectively
Public employee pensions
The guarantee of a free public education
A prohibition against aid to non-public schools
The right to Workers’ Compensation
The "Forever Wild" provisions that protect our environment
Social welfare programs
Your tax dollars!
When did New York last hold a constitutional convention?
The last constitutional convention was held in 1967; it costs taxpayers millions of dollars. In the end, voters rejected all of the proposals.
What would the next steps be if voters approved a constitutional convention?
If New Yorkers vote yes to a constitutional convention, three delegates from each of the 63 state Senate districts, plus 15 at-large delegates, would be elected on Nov. 6, 2018. The convention would convene on April 2, 2019, and the delegates would meet for as long as they deem necessary. The delegates would pay themselves a salary, set their own rules and hire their own staff. The New York State League of Women Voters says a convention is estimated to cost $300 million. Any constitutional amendments passed at the convention would then go to voters for ratification.