Voters to decide on Constitutional Convention

Voters To Decide On Constitutional Convention

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Today is Election Day, and this year's ballot includes a once in a generation question: should New York State hold a Constitutional Convention in 2019?

Voters get to decide whether to hold a statewide Constitutional Convention every 20 years. The question will be on the back of your ballot Tuesday. It asks "Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?"

A "yes" vote votes in favor of a Constitutional Convention. A "no" vote votes against a Constitutional Convention.
Majority rules. If the "no" votes win, this won't be on the ballot again for 20 years. If the "yes" votes win, the Constitutional Convention process starts.

Voters would choose delegates to the convention next November, 204 people total, who would meet at the convention starting in April of 2019.

That group would come up with proposals to change the state constitution, but voters have the ultimate say.
You'd get to decide in the 2019 general election whether to approve the proposals from the Constitutional Convention.

Here are the basic arguments those on both sides of this debate are making.

"We believe it's a waste of money. We already have a process to change the constitution, and if you look at Proposition 2, we're literally voting to change the constitution, so we don't really need a Constitutional Convention or the expenses that come with it," says Mike Dealey with NYSUT.

"There are things that we need to talk about in this state. We need to have a conversation about our government, and not just a conversation that's aimed a complaining about the way things are, but a conversation that's aimed at figuring out how we can improve things, and a convention will do that," says James Gardner, University at Buffalo law professor.

There are two other proposals on the back of your ballot tomorrow. Proposal Two asks if you want to "allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony" related to their office. It would take effect in January if it passes.

And, Proposal Three asks voters whether a forest preserve land bank should be created to allow municipalities to make infrastructure improvements on protected land.

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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