Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

Constitutional Convention

Sally Robinson, sally.s.robinson@gmail.com

Jennifer Wilson, jennifer@lwvny.org

When we first announced our pro-con con position, we received opposition from a number of our members. However, in the end, we believe that our pro position gave us a unique voice in this process and gave the State League a significant amount of publicity. In addition to the public forums held by our local Leagues all over the state, the State office participated in more than 20 public sessions, we were quoted in countless media outlets, invited to participate in editorial board meetings, and even included in Susan Arbetter’s PBS special on the questions which was aired all over the state.

Throughout the campaign, the biggest argument in opposition was the fear that a significant number of protections would be stripped from the Constitution. We countered this argument with the fact that this has never occurred at a convention. The other argument was the potential for dark money to influence a convention. We shared this fear but believed that there was no greater risk of dark money’s influence than what we already experience at the state legislature. The final biggest argument was that delegates would be selected based on gerrymandered Senate districts and would likely be the same corrupt politicians currently serving. Although we agreed that the gerrymandered Senate districts were a real issue, we believed that this convention would not have the same reform gridlock currently plaguing our legislature. We were able to counter each argument made by the opposition but we were vastly outspent.

After the convention vote failed we put out a press statement reaffirming our commitment to amending our state Constitution and calling for widespread reforms. A copy of the press release is here and posted on the state website. We are still working in partnership with other reform organizations to advance priority Constitutional amendments through the legislative process. In December, we will be discussing what these priority amendments are and how we can have the best chance of moving these proposals forward.


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