Ballot Measure Authorizing State Constitutional Convention Fails

New York state voters were asked to approve three ballot propositions in the 2017 general election. One of the proposals would authorize a state constitutional convention

Ballot Measure Authorizing State Constitutional Convention Fails

The ballot proposition on whether to hold a state constitutional convention was soundly defeated in Tuesday's election.

"Voters ultimately agreed that the con con was just a con - a costly process full of risks and unknowns", the group, New Yorkers Against Corruption, which opposed the convention, said in a statement.

The prospect of holding a constitutional convention made for interesting bedfellows in NY, where opposing interests found commonality against the proposal.

Written into the state's 60,000-word constitution is a requirement that every 20 years voters take to the polls to decide whether New York state should amend or completely rewrite the New York State Constitution.

The anti-convention fervor could have also been a factor in a narrowly approved ballot measure authorizing a land bank in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves to facilitate road, infrastructure and safety improvements. For polling locations, as well as results of votes on the ballot proposals and your local races, you may check your county Board of Elections.

Proponents of a convention argue that things like ethics reform, term limits, criminal justice reform, and more, could be the good that comes of changes to the state constitution.

"Our constitution has some of the strongest worker protections in the country, including, the right to collectively bargain, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, the eight-hour work day, civil service protections, public employee pension protections and prevailing rate", Cilento said in a statement.

As the opponents celebrated their victory Wednesday, Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, noted that most registered voters in New York did not weigh in on the question that appeared on the backs of ballots.

Top convention supporters were outspent almost 4-to-1 by New Yorkers Against Corruption between January and late October, according to financial filings with the state Board of Elections.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment that gives judges the power to strip pensions from corrupt elected officials. Fewer than 3,400,000 million responded to the ballot question Tuesday.

The amendment applies to crimes committed after January 1, 2018.

As of 10 p.m., the ballot proposal was too close to call, with 44 percent of voters supporting it and 44 percent opposed. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation. Area towns, villages and counties with "no viable alternative" to using forest preserve land for those public projects could make withdrawals of small parcels of needed land.

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