2013 NYS Ballot Proposals
Make your mark on city government by voting in this year’s general elections! It is a major election year in New York City, with races for mayor, public advocate,comptroller, borough president, and City Council.
In addition to voting for candidates, this year New Yorkers will also vote on whether to amend specific provisions of the New York State Constitution via referenda, otherwise known as ballot proposals which appear on the back of the ballot. You may want to read up on them before you vote.
What Are Ballot Proposals?
The state constitution, like the United States Constitution, lays out government structures, citizens’ rights, and the process through which the constitution can be amended.
According to the NYS Constitution, Article XIX, it can only be amended either by constitutional convention, or by referendum. For the constitution to be amended by referendum – where voters are asked for a “yes” or “no” vote to a proposal that appears on the ballot – this process must be followed:
1. A member or members of each the NYS Assembly and Senate must propose the amendment [through a resolution], and refer it to the NYS Attorney General for review.
2. The Attorney General must submit a written opinion with 20 days of referral to both the Assembly and Senate, which will explain any effects the proposed amendment would have on other provisions of the constitution. [But this is the only step which, if not completed, would not invalidate the amendment]
3. Both the Assembly and Senate must vote on the proposed amendment, and it must receive a majority of votes in both houses of the legislature, and the “aye” and “nay” votes must be recorded.
4. In the next regular legislative session, the members of the Assembly and Senate must again vote on the proposed amendments, and it again must receive a majority of votes in both houses of the legislature.
5. The legislature must submit each proposed amendment to NYS voters on the next general election ballot.
6. New Yorkers must approve the amendment proposal with a majority vote in the general election.
If any of the 6 ballot proposals to amend the constitution receives a majority of votes from NYS citizens, it will be incorporated into the constitution on January 1, 2014.