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.
Legislature takes lead over governor, at least for now  (WBFO, January 17, 2018)
New Legislature Active In Albany  (WAMC, January 16, 2019)
Budget React-O-Mat  (Albany Times-Union, January 15, 2019)
As Acting Public Advocate, Johnson Eyes Information Commission Revived by James But Killed by De Blasio  (Gotham Gazette, January 15, 2019)
Make voting easier and more will vote  (Times-Herald Record, January 14, 2019)
It Looks Like New York Is Actually Going To Get Some Voting Reforms  (Huffington Post, January 11, 2019)
Novel Idea For Reforming Albany: A Real '****load Of Trouble' For Ethics Violations  (Gothamist, January 11, 2019)
Early Voting and Other Changes to Election Laws Are Coming to New York  (The New York Times, January 10, 2019)
As Session Starts, Legislators and Advocates Push Overhaul of State Ethics Enforcement  (Gotham Gazette, January 9, 2019)
Ethics and Campaign Reforms on Horizon in Albany  (The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2019)
NY lawmakers push for corruption oversight  (ABC News 10, January 8, 2019)
NY lawmakers push for corruption oversight  (WETM TV18, January 8, 2019)
Speaker Carl Heastie is mum on Assembly members accepting pay raises from committee they say acted unlawfully  (Daily News, January 7, 2019)
Albany salary hike is headed to court  (Queens Chronicle, December 20, 2018)
Pay Raise Deal Rages In Albany  (WAMC, December 17, 2018)
'It's just not designed to do its job': Will New York reform its state ethics agency?  (Gotham Gazette, December 13, 2018)
Pay commission issues final report, recommends hefty raises for governor, lawmakers  (WRVO, December 12, 2018)
Pay committee recommends $50,000 annual salary increase for lawmakers  (The Legislative Gazette, December 11, 2018)
New York's Horrific Voting Laws Might Actually Get Changed  (Huffington Post, December 11, 2018)
Dutchess Legislature Passes Plastic Bag Ban  (WAMC, December 10, 2018)
News Archive
Governor’s Budget Responds to New Yorkers’ “Pent-Up Demands” For Action
NYPIRG and civic groups urge legislative reforms
NYPIRG and coalition urge approval of new ethics reform plan
Despite New Limits on Legislators' "Moonlighting" In Pay Raise Deal, Albany's Reform Agenda Is Far from Finished
Report: Outside Income and Conflict of Interest in Albany
State Lawmakers Ranked Third Highest Paid in the Nation, Overwhelming Number of State Lawmakers Report No, or Little, Outside Income
NYPIRG's 2018 Legislative Review
As End of Legislative Session Draws Near, NYPIRG and Other Civic Organizations Call for Overhaul of Ethics Enforcement to Restore Public Trust in Government
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
Reports & Features Archive