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.
Gov. Cuomo reveals 2018 budget proposal  (My Champlain Valley, January 15, 2018)
Gov. Cuomo reveals possible 2018 budget proposal  (ABC News 10, January 15, 2018)
On eve of corruption trials, Albany quiet on ethics reforms  (Newsday, January 10, 2018)
Why so many vacant seats? 9 huge questions about special elections  (City & State, January 9, 2018)
Corruption trials in 2018 could spur reform  (North Country Public Radio, January 5, 2018)
Reform Groups Launch 'Restore Public Trust' Campaign  (Gotham Gazette, January 5, 2018)
With Several Corruption Trials Upcoming, No Mention of Reform in Cuomo's State of the State Address  (NY1, January 5, 2018)
Cuomo criticized by government reform groups for giving scant mention to corruption issues in State of the State address  (Daily News, January 5, 2018)
Blair Horner discusses a new "roadmap" for the Governor and members of the Legislature to help curb corruption in New York  (WCNY, January 4, 2018)
In a year filled with corruption trials, advocates see potential for reform  (Albany Times-Union, January 4, 2018)
Despite Upcoming Trials, Ethics Reform Not High on Cuomo's Agenda  (Spectrum News, January 4, 2018)
Muted Support for Ethics, Voting Reforms in Cuomo's State of the State  (City & State, January 3, 2018)
Trials, budget lend uncertainty to 2018 legislative session  (Albany Times-Union, January 3, 2018)
Legislature's efficiency is measured by many metrics  (Albany Times-Union, January 3, 2018)
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's State of the State: What to look for  (Newsday, January 3, 2018)
State readies for 5 corruption trials in 2018  (Newsday, January 1, 2018)
Groups slam Cuomo for headlining Independence Party fund-raiser, getting endorsement on same day  (Daily News, December 24, 2017)
NY Gov. Proposes Early Voting  (WAMC, December 21, 2017)
Cuomo proposes early voting  (WXXI, December 21, 2017)
Democrats ready to unite in New York Senate  (My Champlain Valley, November 29, 2017)
News Archive
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)
NYPIRG Statement on Conviction of former Assemblyman Silver
NYPIRG & NYC Votes Best In Nation on National Voter Reg. Day
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
Reports & Features Archive