Voters deciding on Constitutional Convention, other ballot initiatives

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Tuesday is your last chance to vote for or against an event that only happens every 20 years. The Constitutional Convention has drawn a lot of attention especially from unions and legislators the past few weeks.

The next chance to vote on a Constitutional Convention will be 2037.

“If we were to have one it would be taking away our rights,” Andrew Pallotta, NYSUT President, said.

“It’s hope versus fear. Either you hope things are going to get better or your afraid they are going to get worse,” Jennifer Wilson, Program Policy Director for the League of Women Voters, said.

The teacher’s union and the League of Women Voters are two groups that both feel passionately about the Con Con.

The teacher’s union, like many other unions in the state, are strongly against the Con Con because they are afraid of losing their pensions. Pallotta says they are most worried about losing education rights.

“Every child is entitled to a free and quality public education and that could be in jeopardy which is really horrendous,” Pallotta said.

The League of Women Voters explains that this is not about losing rights at all. Instead, voters have a chance at adding equal rights for women, those with disabilities and the LGBTQ community.

“In the last nine conventions, we have had we have never taken anything out of the constitution. All we do is add, add, add,” Wilson said.

The teacher’s union made close to a half a million phone calls to voters across New York and put out bumper stickers and lawn signs, to urge as many people as they could to vote no on a Con Con they believe will be corrupted.

“There’s outside money, folks that do not like unions, folks that do not like public education, that does not support worker’s rights, they would be all over this,” Pallotta said.

Yet the league points out that things such as pensions were actually added during a Con Con.

“I think it’s important for people to remember that and at the last constitutional convention there were eight pension officials that served as delegates,” Wilson said.

Just as a reminder, you will have to turn your ballot over to find the Con Con question.

Also on the ballot are two other ballot propositions: one asking if government officials should be allowed to keep their pensions if they have been convicted of corruption and the other is for a land bank in the Adirondacks to help the communities there make improvements without having to go through a long legislative process.

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