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CNY joins rest of state in rejecting referendum on constitutional convention

A sign opposing a constitutional convention is seen in Syracuse (Luke Parsnow)

Central New York voters, along with a vast majority of those across the state, soundly rejected a ballot proposal asking if New York should hold a state constitutional convention in 2019.

With 99 percent of the vote accounted for, the "no" vote for a convention statewide received 83 percent of the vote; the "yes" vote just 16 percent, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

The results expand on a Nov. 1 Siena College poll that found likely voters would vote "no" by a 57 percent to 25 percent margin, which was a strong reversal from the summer. As recently as September, polls showed a plurality of voters supported a convention.

New Yorkers vote every 20 years on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention in Albany. The last time a convention was held was in 1967, and the last time a convention resulted in actual changes to the constitution was in 1938.

Had the referendum passed, voters would've elected delegates in the 2018 midterm elections, who would've then gone to the state capitol on their behalf in 2019.

Every county in central New York voted against the measure, with most seeing their "no" vote outperform 1997 results by huge margins. However, several counties saw fewer "no" votes and more "yes" votes in 2017 than they did in 1997 — Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca and Wayne.

When the proposal was on the ballot the last time, in 1997, every county in New York voted against it. The proposal was also defeated in 1977.

It will appear on the ballot again in 2037.

While the convention referendum saw stark opposition once again, the other two statewide proposals were both approved. The proposed amendment related to pension forfeiture for public officers convicted of felonies related to their official duties was approved overwhelmingly with 66 percent of the vote and the amendment related to the land bank for the Adirondacks and Catskills passed, though by a narrow 46-42 percent margin with 99 percent of the vote in.

Onondaga County voters also approved a ballot initiative that would turn control of the County Department of Corrections over to the Sheriff's Office.


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