This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (August 2017)
|New York State Constitutional Convention vote, 2017|
|Location||New York, United States|
|Date||November 7, 2017|
New York Proposition 1 was a 2017 ballot measure that would have established a constitutional convention to revise the Constitution of the State of New York, subject to the approval of the voters. Section 2 of Article XIX of the state constitution requires that every 20 years the ballot question "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?" should be submitted to the voters. The referendum was rejected by a large margin on November 7, 2017.
- A "yes" vote supported holding a constitutional convention to develop and propose changes to the state constitution that voters would vote on at the election on November 5, 2019.
- A "no" vote opposed holding a constitutional convention to develop and propose changes to the state constitution that voters would vote on at the election on November 5, 2019.
- A blank or invalid vote was not counted either way.
The election process
The ballot question is the first step in the process of calling a constitutional convention in New York. If a majority of voters cast their ballots in favor of holding a convention, voters would elect 204 convention delegates on November 6, 2018. Fifteen of the delegates would be elected statewide. Three would be elected from each of the state's 63 senate districts. The convention would convene on April 2, 2019, in Albany. Delegates would be allowed to draft a new constitution or amendments to the existing constitution. Referring a constitution or amendment to the ballot would require a simple majority vote of the delegates. The people of New York would vote on the convention-proposed changes to the constitution on November 5, 2019.
The ballot question is as follows:
The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the State Constitution. The purpose of this Ballot Question is to allow the voters of New York State to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held in 2019.
If a majority voting on this Question votes NO, there will be no Constitutional Convention.
If a majority votes YES, three delegates from each state senatorial district and 15 at-large statewide delegates will be elected in November 2018. The delegates will convene at the Capitol in April 2019. Amendments adopted by a majority of the delegates will be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection in a statewide referendum to be held at least six weeks after the Convention adjourns. The delegates will determine whether to submit proposed amendments as separate questions. Any amendments that the voters approve will go into effect on the January 1 following their approval.
If a majority votes in favor of a Constitutional Convention, then the delegates will receive for their services the same compensation as that payable to Members of the Assembly. The delegates also will be reimbursed for actual traveling expenses while the Convention is in session, to the extent that Members of the Assembly would be entitled reimbursement during a session of the Legislature.
The delegates will have the power to appoint the officers, employees, and assistants that they deem necessary and to fix the compensation of those officers, employees, and assistants. The delegates also will have the power to provide for the expenses of the Convention, including the printing of its documents, journal, and proceedings. The delegates will determine the rules of their proceedings, choose their officers, and be the judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of their members. A vacancy in an office of district delegate will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates representing the district in which the vacancy occurs; a vacancy in the office of a delegate-at-large will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates-at-large.
There were three political action committees, the Committee for a Constitutional Convention, NY People's Convention PAC, and Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019, registered in support of the constitutional convention question. The committees reported $389,474 in contributions and $361,039 in expenditures.
The top contributor in support of the question was Democratic fundraiser Bill Samuels, who contributed $100,725 in cash and $61,772 in in-kind services. Compared to the opposition, the supporters of the proposition were disorganized and underfunded.
- Bill Samuels, businessman
- Evan Davis, former president of the New York City Bar Association
- Brian Kolb, Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly
- Richard Brodsky, former member of the New York State Assembly
- Carl Paladino, 2010 gubernatorial candidate and former Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education member; initially supported, then opposed, then announced support on day before election
There were two committees, New Yorkers Against Corruption and Say No to a Constitutional Convention (SNCC), registered in opposition to the constitutional convention question. The committees reported $635,300 in contributions and $311,810 in expenditures in the last filing period before the election; an additional $1,000,000 was raised and $2,200,000 spent in the period between then and Election Day, which was not publicly reported until a month after the election.
The top contributor in opposition to the question was the New York State United Teachers, who donated $444,000, all after the last filing period. SEIU 1199 came in second with a $250,000 donation. On the whole, the opponents of the proposition grossly outspent the supporters and, with labor union backing, rallied public employees to their cause, giving the no vote a massive base in even conservative small towns where government is often the largest and most lucrative employer. This led to consistent and widespread no votes throughout the state and across all demographics.
Criticism of the opposition
The opposition coalition was criticized for spreading false rumors and misinformation about the convention, namely a rumor that blank votes would be counted as yes, another stating that a convention could take away public employees' pensions (which is prohibited under the U.S. Constitution), a grossly inflated estimate of the cost (New Yorkers Against Corruption claimed a price tag in the hundreds of millions, when most realistic estimates placed the cost at $50,000,000), and implying that Albany insiders had orchestrated the convention vote (it has been a scheduled part of the state Constitution since the 19th century, and almost all notable political forces in the state in fact opposed the convention) and would control and corrupt the delegate selection process (delegates are elected, and fewer than 10% of the delegates to the most recent convention in 1967 were incumbent Albany politicians).
- Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City
- Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York. Initially implied support, then stated he would vote against the referendum the day before it was scheduled
- John Flanagan, Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
- Carl Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly
- Jeff Klein, New York State Senator and Leader of the Independent Democratic Conference
- Edward Cox, Chairman of the New York State Republican Committee
- John DeFrancisco, New York State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader
|Margin of error||Yes||No N||Undecided||Spread|
|Siena College||October 25–29, 2017||814||± 3.4%||25%||57%||18%||No +32|
|Baruch College||October 2–13, 2017||801||± 2.9%||32%||27%||41%||Yes +5|
|Siena College||September 25–28, 2017||789||± 4.2%||44%||39%||17%||Yes +5|
|Siena College||August 26–30, 2017||771||± 4.2%||45%||33%||22%||Yes +12|
|Siena College||July 9–13, 2017||793||± 4.2%||47%||34%||19%||Yes +13|
|Quinnipiac University||July 5–10, 2017||1,137||± 3.7%||55%||30%||15%||Yes +25|
|Siena College||May 15–21, 2017||770||± 4.0%||62%||22%||16%||Yes +40|
|Siena College||February 19–23, 2017||723||± 4.3%||63%||24%||13%||Yes +39|
|Siena College||June 22–28, 2016||803||± 3.8%||68%||15%||17%||Yes +53|
|Siena College||July 6–9, 2015||803||± 3.8%||69%||15%||16%||Yes +54|
- "Constitution of the State of New York". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
- McKinley, Jesse (2017-11-07). "New York Voters Reject a Constitutional Convention". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
- Myths and realities of a New York State constitutional convention. Newsday editorial board. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- The constitutional convention debate: A guide to what's true and what's not. Politico. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
- Mahoney, Bill (November 7, 2017). Constitutional convention question headed toward landslide defeat. Politico. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
- "New York Is About to Vote on a Constitutional Convention: Here's Why You Should Care | Village Voice". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
- Legislation re 2010 NYS Constitutional Convention
- "Albany voter guide: Governor - Republican Party primary" Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Times Union (Albany). Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- Brown, Nathan (2010-07-17). "Paladino plans sweeping changes". Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "Video & Transcript: Built to Lead: Governor Cuomo's 2016 State of the State and Budget Address". Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
- Blain, Glenn (November 6, 2017). "Cuomo won't be voting for constitutional convention". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- "The Pros and Cons of a ConCon? | The Indypendent". indypendent.org. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
- "State Sen. John DeFrancisco opposes NY constitutional convention". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.