Voters Reject Constitutional Convention

Convention would have taken place in 2019

Tom Puckett
November 08, 2017 - 1:53 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN/AP) Voters Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional convention for 2019.

Unions, environmental groups, Planned Parenthood and officials from both parties had urged opposition. They warned that deep-pocketed special interests could use a convention to undermine existing constitutional rights and noted that the constitution can already be amended through voter referendum. "A lot of special interests were concerned their special interests would be changed if there were a consitutional convention," says Ken Kruly of Politics and Other Stuff. "Some of the opportunities and rights they have right now may be lost, and that drove folks into spending money campaigning against a convention."

Supporters argued a convention would provide a chance to address chronic corruption and porous campaign finance rules while strengthening protections for education, health care and the environment. Ethics reform would have likely been at the top says Kruly, including tightening up rules on elections and how people treat their offices. "I'm sure many politicians are breathing easier because they wouldn't want to take the chances like special interests," notes Kruly.

The question of a constitutional convention is automatically put on the ballot every 20 years. The last convention was held in 1967. Cost would have been a big concern, says Kruly. "If you look what happened in 1967 and convert it into today's dollars, the cost would be $250 million, and that's a lot of money and no guarantees anything would come out of it," says Kruly.

If the question had passed, voters would have had to ratify any constitutional changes.

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