I’m going to make this as simple as possible: vote NO on a constitutional convention.

Let me back up just a moment. Every 20 years, New York has a mandatory question on the ballot that asks if we want to hold a constitutional convention. The purpose of this is to assemble a whole bunch of people in Albany whose job it is to decide whether or not we should change our state constitution, which, by the way, we have done more than 200 times WITHOUT a convention.

Those who support holding the convention claim that it will be a “people’s convention,” at which average New Yorkers like us will play a key role in making sweeping, progressive changes to the constitution.
If only that were true.

The “people” who would be at this convention are not working people, but already-influential New Yorkers who have a seat at the table. This convention will be run by delegates who are wealthy and represent corporate special interests. Working people like us will not be invited to the party.

Let me give you one great reason to vote against it; actually, let me give you hundreds of millions reasons to vote no. A convention could potentially cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Convention delegates would be paid the same as a state legislator. They can also hire staff and would need to rent office space. There will be no limits on who the delegates can hire. Other expenses would include the accommodations, food, drinks and “networking.” Delegates would be elected in 2018, and they would meet in Albany in 2019 for an undetermined length of time, meaning we’d all be paying for a nice, long, extended stay.

Think what New York could do instead with all that money. We could pay for our schools, health care, infrastructure and other vital services that we all rely on every day, all of which struggle with funding already.

In 1967, New Yorkers paid millions for a constitutional convention and voters rejected all of the proposed changes. Imagine if the convention were approved, and we paid hundreds of millions of dollars only to accomplish absolutely nothing!

Simply put, this convention is a boondoggle for wealthy elites, paid for by working families like ours, just struggling to put food on their tables and provide the other basic needs. This is not a solution for any of our state’s problems. It’s just another way for corporate influences to further take away from working New Yorkers everywhere.

Let me say it one last time to be clear: get out to vote on Nov. 7, and vote NO on a constitutional convention.

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