New York Constitutional Convention

Under New York’s constitution, every twenty years voters get an opportunity to decide if they wish to overhaul — or tinker with — their state constitution. The below "roadmap" offers a basic view on how that process works. You can hover your cursor over each number to get more detail on each of the "stops" along the way to "Conventionland."

In addition to getting more information by clicking on numbers on the game board, please take a look at our short Guide to the New York State Convention Process.

We offer this a an educational service to all New Yorkers.


Stop #1: Every 20 years, the New York State Constitution requires that the public decide if it wants to update its constitution. The next vote is November 2017. Stop #2: Will the process for selecting delegates stay the same? Reformers want there to be a legislative debate over the rules for electing delegates and the openness requirements for the convention’s proceedings in advance of the public vote. Knowing the ground rules for delegate selection will be a factor for many New Yorkers in how they decide to cast their votes on the convention question. Stop #3: The public votes on whether to hold a convention. If the majority of votes cast on the convention question are “yes,” then the process continues. If the majority votes down a convention, no convention happens and the “road” to a convention ends. Stop #4: Voters choose who they want to be delegates at the convention. At the next general election following the voters’ approval to convene a convention (November 2018), voters choose three (3) delegates from each State Senate District (there are 63 Senate districts), and fifteen (15) are elected statewide. Thus, the convention would consist of a total of 204 delegates. Anyone who is eligible to vote can run for delegate. The processes for getting on the ballot and running a campaign are the same as those running for any other state office. Split-ticket voting for the 15 statewide delegates has historically been extremely difficult. Stop #5:  The convention, consisting of its 204 delegates, begins its deliberations the first Tuesday of April 2019 and continues until work is completed. Stop #6: As the convention begins, the delegates will likely organize themselves to consider changes to the Constitution, such as creating committees to examine specific areas of the constitution (e.g., environmental policies). Stop #7: The convention begins to discuss changes.   Anything can be on the agenda since it is not possible to limit the scope of a convention. Stop #8: The delegates decide on which changes they agree should be part of a new Constitution.  A key decision will be whether the proposed changes are voted on as one package or as separate individual amendments. Stop #9: Whatever changes emerge from the convention are then sent to the voters for final approval. New Yorkers go to the polls the following November (2019 at the earliest) to approve or reject the changes. Stop #10: Any changes that are approved in a statewide referendum go into effect January 1st in the year after the vote is held.   If rejected, the Constitution does not change.
Five Ways To Fix NYC's Subways Right Now  (Village Voice, June 16, 2017)
Big-Ticket Items Falling by Wayside in Albany Leaves Room for Other Bills That Might Otherwise Be Ignored  (NY1, June 15, 2017)
8 Years of Rust Show as New York Senate Ethics Panel Finally Meets  (The New York Times, June 15, 2017)
Reform groups beg: Bolster NY's contracting laws  (Poughkeepsie Journal, June 14, 2017)
City hails Lyft in latest job fair - and why that might be a problem  (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, June 14, 2017)
Lulus should go bye-bye  (Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, June 11, 2017)
NY lobbyists earned a new record in 2016  (Poughkeepsie Journal, June 9, 2017)
Assembly GOP urges ethics reform  (WNYT Channel 13, June 7, 2017)
Legislators Look to Rein In Cuomo's Economic Development Power  (Spectrum News, June 7, 2017)
As Session Nears End, Electoral Reforms Mostly Stalled & Cuomo Quiet  (Gotham Gazette, June 5, 2017)
Andrew Cuomo moves to protect Obamacare in NY  (Newsday, June 5, 2017)
Sweeping campaign finance reform bill proposed for Ulster County  (Mid-Hudson News, June 1, 2017)
Hein pitches plan to reform county's campaign finance laws  (Hudson Valley 1, June 1, 2017)
Hein pitches campaign finance reform in Ulster County  (Times Herald-Record, May 31, 2017)
Stipend scandal adds to Dem tensions in state Senate  (Oneonta Daily Star, May 31, 2017)
Hein Unveils Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform Proposal  (Hudson Valley News Network, May 31, 2017)
State senators' scandal highlights stipends  (Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, May 29, 2017)
New York senators' scandal highlights vast stipend system  (PBS Newshour, May 28, 2017)
Uber, Airbnb, Tech Companies Spend Big Bucks Lobbying in N.Y.  (Bloomberg BNA, May 28, 2017)
With lobbyists, big-money interests cover their bets in NY  (Democrat & Chronicle, May 26, 2017)
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