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.
No public financing, but 'comp time' gives public help for campaigns  (Lohud.com, October 19, 2017)
Vance Controversy Spotlights Lax Campaign Finance Rules for District Attorneys  (Gotham Gazette, October 16, 2017)
Ballot proposition to strip pensions from convicted lawmakers has time limit  (North Country Public Radio, October 12, 2017)
Even liberal states have tough voting requirements because parties like it  (Newsweek, October 12, 2017)
Convention opponents outspend supporters in state referendum  (The Buffalo News, October 11, 2017)
Want to Vote Next Year, New York? Act Now!  (The New York Times, October 10, 2017)
Blair Horner discusses extreme partisan gerrymandering on The Capitol Pressroom  (WCNY, October 10, 2017)
Ballot measure would strip corrupt politicians of their pensions: "Hard-working New Yorkers are getting screwed"  (Fox 6 News, October 8, 2017)
More Corruption Trials? Possible Reprise Makes Albany Groan  (The New York Times, October 4, 2017)
Transit watchdogs urge state, city to fix lousy MTA bus service  (Daily News, September 27, 2017)
Rep. Thomas Suozzi: Bill would close loophole used by Dean Skelos  (Newsday, September 27, 2017)
NY Senator Wants To Make It Illegal For Powerful Interests To Hide Behind LLCs  (Gothamist, September 26, 2017)
New Yorkers Can Vote to Amend the State's Constitution This November  (WICZ-TV Binghamton, September 22, 2017)
Risk vs. reward: Con Con debate heating up  (The Journal News, September 22, 2017)
NY Fracking Waste Rules Not Good Enough, Environmental Groups Say  (New York Law Journal, September 22, 2017)
Many taxes, fees in New York not apparent, some hidden  (Press & Sun Bulletin, September 21, 2017)
Taxpayers could pick up ex-Sen. Tom Libous' $700K legal tab  (Press & Sun Bulletin, September 21, 2017)
Fewer two-house bills passed in 2017, continuing long-term decline  (The Legislative Gazette, September 19, 2017)
Say No to Climate Change  (New Rochelle Daily Voice, September 18, 2017)
NYPIRG Reviews 2017 Session  (Spectrum News, September 18, 2018)
News Archive
Join us on November 15, 2017 to celebrate Four Decades of the Straphangers Campaign. RSVP today!
Convention-Land: New Yorkers' Road Map To The Constitutional Convention
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)
REFORMERS: DRAMATICALLY RESTRICT LAWMAKERS' OUTSIDE INCOME; FOLLOW CONGRESSIONAL SYSTEM (news release)
NYPIRG statement on National Voter Registration Day
New York Voting Rates Lag Behind the Nation
Transparency Groups Praise Senate's Passage of "Faster FOIL" Bill
NYPIRG URGES STATE BOE REVIEW OF LLC "DARK MONEY"
Reports & Features Archive