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.
Blair Horner discusses the November 6th election and NYPIRG's 45th Anniversary  (Hudson Mohawk Magazine, November 15, 2018)
State panel considers pay raises for lawmakers, others  (Newsday, November 13, 2018)
Panel considers first raise for state lawmakers in almost 20 years  (The Buffalo News, November 13, 2018)
Legislators debate pay raise issue  (ABC News 10, November 13, 2018)
Census 2020 information event coming to Staten Island  (Staten Island Advance, November 10, 2018)
State Commission to Decide on State Lawmaker Increases  (Spectrum News, November 8, 2018)
Cuomo won more votes than any governor in NY history  (City & State, November 7, 2018)
NYPIRG's Russ Haven discusses the impact of the 2018 election on NYS  (The Sanctuary for Independent Media, November 7, 2018)
NYPIRG and Common Cause talk voting rights and election reform on Capitol Pressroom  (WCNY, November 6, 2018)
Vote Yes Three Times to Improve New York City Democracy  (Gotham Gazette, November 5, 2018)
Will NYC voters 'tune out" Tuesday’s election?  (The Legislative Gazette, November 5, 2018)
How NY's enrollment surge could influence key House races  (WGRZ, November 2, 2018)
The largest donors to New York candidates  (City & State, November 1, 2018)
NYPIRG discusses NYC ballot questions 1 and 2 for November 6 election   (WBAI, November 1, 2018)
The corrosive nature of money in politics is on display again  (Poughkeepsie Journal, October 30, 2018)
The (Poor) State of Ethics in New York  (Spectrum News, October 24, 2018)
The $100 Million Man: How Cuomo's campaign war chest became one of the nation's largest  (Democrat & Chronicle, October 18, 2018)
Deadline to Register to Vote in NY for November Elections is Tonight  (NY1, October 12, 2018)
Final voter registration drive push before Friday deadline  (NY1, October 11, 2018)
'What if he left a bag of money?' Judges struggle to define bribery  (New York Post, October 4, 2018)
News Archive
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
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
Reports & Features Archive