Knowledge of a ConCon vote remains extraordinarily low; Voters show strong support for revoking pensions of felonious politicians

Photo by James Gormley

On November 7, New York voters will be asked whether the state should organize a convention for the purpose of amending the state Constitution.

While only 14 percent of voters statewide have heard either “some” or a “great deal” about the ballot question, 47 percent of voters say they plan to vote for a constitutional convention, according to a Siena College Poll released Tuesday.

Fifty-six percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independent voters plan to vote for a convention.

The New York State Board of Elections has released the official ballot question that voters will see on November 7: “Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?”

The accompanying abstract explains that the state Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a convention should be held to consider amendments to the Constitution. The purpose of this ballot question is to allow the voters of New York State to determine whether a constitutional convention will be held according to the procedure provided by the state Constitution.

It also explains that if a majority voting on this question votes NO, there will be no constitutional convention, but if a majority votes YES, three delegates from each state senatorial district will be elected in November 2018, along with 15 at-large delegates who will be elected statewide.

It further explains that the delegates will convene at the Capitol in April 2019. Amendments adopted by a majority of the delegates will be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection in a statewide referendum, at an election held at least six weeks after the Convention adjourns. Any amendments that the voters approve will go into effect on the January 1 following their approval.

If a majority votes in favor of a Constitutional Convention, then the delegates will receive for their services the same compensation as that payable to members of the Assembly. The delegates also will be reimbursed for actual traveling expenses while the convention is in session, to the extent that members of the Assembly would be entitled reimbursement during a session of the Legislature.

“In previous Siena College polls, support for ConCon has been overwhelming, including a 62-to-22 percent bulge in May. Now, however, with a newly worded question which includes what voters will see on the November ballot, support for ConCon is only 47-34 percent,” said Steven Greenberg, Siena College pollster. “A strong majority of Democrats and a plurality of independents support it, while a plurality of Republicans opposes it. A plurality of voters from every region of the state also support it.

Voters will also be asked on November 7 whether they want to change state law to give judges the option of reducing or revoking the pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony related to their official duties.

This proposal gets strong support, with 75 percent of all voters statewide saying they will vote for the amendment.

Seventy percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of independents support this change. In fact, the proposal gets strong majority support across all demographics including political affiliation, region, income, age and race.

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