Letter: Vote no on the constitutional convention

What would you do if you were asked to invest in a project that has no set deadline, no guaranteed results, would not include you at any level and could end up losing you money? Chances are, you would pass.

But supporters of a state constitutional convention want you to vote to approve a convention that is not only expensive, but has too many unknowns. Simply put, a constitutional convention is a boondoggle that is wrong for New York and its people.

The state constitution protects many things, including pensions, collective bargaining rights, state civil service rights, human rights, our environment, public education and many more. A convention could jeopardize many of these protections.


Another major reason to oppose the convention is the potential costs. A convention could cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars. This money could be used for vital services such as improving infrastructure, emergency services, education or health care.

If a convention is approved, New Yorkers would elect delegates next year. Most of the delegates are likely to come from the ranks of corporate lobbyists and wealthy special interests who already have an influential voice. Elected officials would also be eligible to become delegates. Delegates would be paid nearly $80,000 each, plus pension credit (included elected officials already in the system), and they would be allowed to rent office space and hire staff. By the way, delegates would have no restrictions on hiring their friends or relatives.

A convention has no set time limit, delegates can set their own rules and there are no guarantees about the results. All of the proposed changes from the 1967 convention, packaged together in one ballot question, were rejected by voters. Taxpayers literally paid millions for nothing. In short, we’re not invited to the party, yet we would foot the bill.

A constitutional convention is also unnecessary. The state legislature can amend the constitution through a resolution passed in five consecutive sessions and brought before all New Yorkers for approval. Not only does this allow changes to be made without opening everything in the constitution, but our state has passed over 200 amendments in this manner.

Go to the polls and vote no on Nov. 7 — and urge your families, friends and co-workers to do the same. Getting out to vote is the only way your voice will be heard.

Casey Donovan