NY voters to decide on constitutional convention

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YONKERS -

One of the most important questions on the ballot this year will be about the constitutional convention, but many voters have no idea what the proposition is.

The proposition would give New York voters the right to start the process of rewriting the state constitution. It’s an opportunity that only comes around every 20 years.

Constitutional scholar and Pace Law School professor Bennett Gershman says this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that gives voters a permanent say in how their government works.

“There’s so much about the budget that needs to be reformed, taxation needs to be reformed, education can be improved,” he says.

If the proposition passes, it would begin a two-year process of picking the people who would help overhaul the existing structure of state government.

Democratic state Sen. David Carlucci believes it's a risk not worth taking.

“A convention is too drastic - that opens it all up. It’s like taking out a sledgehammer instead of using a scalpel. Our democracy is very fragile,” he says.

If it's approved, the actual vote to change the Constitution wouldn't take place until 2019. If it’s voted down, voters won’t have another chance until 2037.

The constitutional convention question is one of three on the statewide ballot. The others include authorizing judges to strip the pensions of corrupt officials and creating a 250-acre land bank.

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