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.
The Reality Of Climate Change Clashes With Fossil Fuel Expansion  (WAMC, October 14, 2019)
Debate Over Fine Points of Campaign-Finance System as Deadline Nears  (City Limits, October 14, 2019)
City Campaign Finance System Charts Path - and Highlights Challenges - for State Reform  (City Limits, October 9, 2019)
Good-Government Groups Want To See Draft Work From Public Financing Commission  (Spectrum News, October 7, 2019)
New York's Voting Deadline Looms, But Its System Fails  (WAMC, October 7, 2019)
Should fusion voting be banned?  (https://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/news/top-stories/should-fusion-voting-be-banned/)
NY Commission looking at system that allows candidates to be listed on multiple party lines  (Local Syracuse, September 27, 2019)
Election Finance Hearing Dominated By Controversy Over Fusion Voting  (WSKG, September 23, 2019)
Blair Horner Discusses Public Campaign Financing on Capitol Pressroom  (WCNY, September 23, 2019)
As campaign reform commission begins its work, new report looks at Albany's 2018 fundraising  (The Legislative Gazette, September 18, 2019)
NYPIRG Makes Public Campaign Finance Recommendations To Commission  (Spectrum News, September 18, 2019)
Public financing hearing overshadowed by controversy over future of fusion voting  (WRVO, September 12, 2019)
Campaign Finance Overhaul Begins  (WAMC, September 9, 2019)
Running for Congress is getting a lot riskier for state lawmakers  (City & State, September 8, 2019)
Watchdog groups: state facing key opportunity to fix campaign finance laws  (The Buffalo News, September 5, 2019)
Blair Horner discusses public campaign financing on Capitol Pressroom   (WCNY, September 5, 2019)
Advocates make the case for public financing of campaigns  (Albany Times, Union, September 5, 2019)
System of Publicly Financed Campaigns Could Soon Hit New York  (Spectrum News, September 5, 2019)
Commission to decide on historic public funding of political campaigns   (Newsday, September 2, 2019)
Good-Government Groups Want Focus On Public Financing, Not Fusion Voting  (Spectrum News, August 28, 2019)
News Archive
NYPIRG and Good Government Groups Issue Recommendations to the Public Campaign Financing Commission
Capital Investments: A Look at The 2018 New York State Legislative Elections
NYPIRG and civic groups urge NY Commission on Public Financing to focus on the task at hand; in 3 months establishing a new system of campaign financing.
NYPIRG statement on proposed PFOA, PFOS, 1,4-dioxane MCLs
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG’s 2019 Legislative Review
Albany Money Machine 2019
Civic Organizations Release 50-state Review of States' Ethics Boards
Release: Albany Money Machine 2019
NYPIRG Reviews Governor, Senate and Assembly Budget Plans on Key Issues
NYPIRG Statement on H.R. 1 Passage and Calls for State Law for Small Donor Public Financing of Campaigns
New York's Highest-in-the-Nation Contribution Limits Go Up
Donors Can Now Contribute Nearly $70,000 to Governor
Governor's Budget Responds to New Yorkers' "Pent-Up Demands" For Action
NYPIRG and civic groups urge legislative reforms
NYPIRG and coalition urge approval of new ethics reform plan
Despite New Limits on Legislators' "Moonlighting" In Pay Raise Deal, Albany's Reform Agenda Is Far from Finished
Report: Outside Income and Conflict of Interest in Albany
State Lawmakers Ranked Third Highest Paid in the Nation, Overwhelming Number of State Lawmakers Report No, or Little, Outside Income
NYPIRG's 2018 Legislative Review
As End of Legislative Session Draws Near, NYPIRG and Other Civic Organizations Call for Overhaul of Ethics Enforcement to Restore Public Trust in Government
New York's leading civic organizations call for action to respond to the state's corruption crises.
Reports & Features Archive