New Yorkers Re-elect Mayor, Reject Constitutional Convention

By Thomas Behnke

New Yorkers voted to reject a proposal for a constitutional convention. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

“I knew de Blasio was going to win, but I think the convention vote was a missed opportunity. Lehman freshman Jasmin Delgado said when asked about the recent mayoral election results. The vote on the Constitutional Convention, known as Proposition 1 on the ballot, asked New Yorkers if they wanted the opportunity to amend New York’s constitution. While Delgado saw it as “a chance to change things” and voted for it, her mother voted against. 

“My mom thinks that any changes politicians would make would be better for them and worse for us,” Delgado said. “We went to vote together, [and] we fought up until we entered the school.” Delgado laughed. “We are a very political family.” 

Most New Yorkers voted with Delgado’s mother on the constitutional convention. The proposal, which appears on the ballot every 20 years, was rejected by a margin of 86 percent to 16 percent,  according to the New York Times. The last time New Yorkers voted for a constitutional convention was in 1938. According to nyconstitution.org, delegates debated issues such as social security, expanding the rapid transit system, and education. The next time a convention proposal will be on the ballot is 2037. 

A yes vote would have resulted in a convention in which delegates could voice concerns and propose changes to the state constitution.  Any changes coming out of the convention would then need to be voted on by the public before being implemented. Nysaysyes.org, a website advocating a convention, listed important issues that might be addressed, such as election reform, the environment, and court and criminal justice reform. 

Delgado saw it as a way to protect something closer to home--her own education.  “You see the signs that Trump’s education secretary doesn’t like public schools,” she said.  “A convention could have helped our focus on free public education even stronger.” Critics of the proposition point to the special interests, and the money they would pour into lobbying the delegates for changes.  “My father is in the ironworker’s union.  They were against it, because they’re scared the bosses could weaken the unions.  I guess it is complicated, but we can’t change if we don’t try something.  The system is broken.” 

However, the substantial showing for de Blasio, who was re-elected by nearly 40 points, shows that some New Yorkers still have faith in his abilities--or else less in all the other candidates. Many Lehman students affirmed this preference to the Meridian. “I like de Blasio,” Hector Mucheca, a sophomore, said.  “He has his own mind, I think.  He doesn’t get pushed around, and we need that with the way things are in the rest of the country.”