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.
Cynthia Nixon Promises an Anti-Corruption Panel  (The New York Times, May 15, 2018)
You don't have to be that qualified to be attorney general  (City & State New York, May 14, 2018)
Silver found guilty in corruption retrial  (WNYT, May 11, 2018)
Senate proposes ethics reform aimed at Cuomo  (Spectrum News, May 11, 2018)
GOP women: Schneiderman should donate $8.5M campaign funds  (Newsday, May 9, 2018)
History provides no clear precedent for replacing Schneiderman  (Albany Times Union, May 8, 2018)
Newly Reunited Democrats in the Senate Push for Extended Voting in New York  (WAER, May 3, 2018)
Senate Democrats unite behind several bills  (News 10 ABC, May 2, 2018)
Legislative vacancies disenfranchise residents across New York State  (Buffalo News, April 23, 2018)
When a Public Official Sells Feminism, Who Is Being Empowered?  (Jezebel, April 18, 2018)
As Senate hangs in the balance, all eyes are on Westchester and The Bronx  (Legislative Gazette, April 18, 2018)
Make it easier to access state records  (The Daily Gazette, April 18, 2018)
When is New York's primary? The answer is complicated  (AM New York, April 17, 2018)
State Senate ordered to reveal guidelines for taxpayer-funded mailers  (Albany Times Union, April 16, 2018)
Blair Horner: Trump Administration Pushes For More Auto Pollution And More Climate Change  (WAMC, April 9, 2018)
NYS Board of Elections weakens its watchdog  (WBFO, April 8, 2018)
State BOE moves to curb autonomy of enforcement counse  (Albany Times Union, April 6, 2018)
A reform-free state budget for New York?  (Spectrum News, April 4, 2018)
Rod Watson: You know it's bad when New York's ways even ensnare a nun  (Buffalo News, April 4, 2018)
Blair Horner: The Budget Wraps Up  (WAMC, April 3, 2018)
News Archive
New York's leading civic organizations call for action to respond to the state's corruption crises.
Roadmap to Reform
NYPIRG and other leading civic organizations respond to the important ethics issues raised during the Joseph Percoco trial, which went to the jury today.
News Release: As Percoco trial begins, Reformers call for strong anti-corruption measures
News Release: Watchdog Groups Unveil "roadmap" to Curbing Corruption In New York, Kicking Off Their Restore Public Trust Campaign
Letter: Watchdog Groups Call for "Restore Public Trust" Reforms in Albany
News Release: Nearly 1.8 Million New Yorkers Without Full Representation
Read Our Voters Guide to the Proposed 2017 Ballot Questions
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG 2017 Legislative Review
NYPIRG and other good government groups call for the NYS Senate to end the practice of diverting stipends for committee chairs to other committee members
Blair Horner discusses Albany politics and the importance of voting on "It's Your System"
Watchdog Groups Call on Senate and Assembly Leaders to Hold Emergency Oversight Hearing On Allegations of Historic Bid-Rigging Scandals and Clean Contracting Reforms
NYPIRG's 2016 Legislative Review & Release of "Legislative Profiles"
Gov't Reform Groups Call for Corruption-Busting Reform Package Now
Albany Money Machine 2016 (PDF)
REFORMERS CALL ON GOVERNOR, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO HOLD PUBLIC LEADERS' MEETINGS TO OPENLY ADDRESS STATE ETHICS REFORM
NYPIRG REACTION TO SENATOR SKELOS'S CONVICTION
NYPIRG Statement on Conviction of former Assemblyman Silver
NYPIRG & NYC Votes Best In Nation on National Voter Reg. Day
REFORMERS: DRAMATICALLY RESTRICT LAWMAKERS' OUTSIDE INCOME; FOLLOW CONGRESSIONAL SYSTEM (report)
Reports & Features Archive