Island Vote: Constitutional convention on the ballot

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Signs and bumper stickers asking Long Islanders about a state constitutional convention have peppered the region ahead of a public referendum on whether one should be held.

If there is a state constitutional convention, delegates could consider changes or amendments to the state constitution.

ISLAND VOTE - Complete coverage of the 2017 races

"Once every 20 years, New Yorkers get a chance to rewrite the blueprint of their government," explains Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Supporters say it's a perfect opportunity to tackle important issues like ethics reform, which state lawmakers may be afraid to tackle on their own.

"After years of trying to get various government reforms through the Democratic process, we've decided that it's just not going to happen," says Tom Bergdall, of the Citizens Union.

Opponents are against it because they say that some of the powerful protections for public unions -- pensions in particular -- may be diminished.

"Everything will be on the table," says Susan Gottehrer, of the Nassau chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "Which means that all the gains we have made in protecting people's rights and with the environment and in health care and housing will be on the table."

If voters approve the convention, then next year voters statewide would select 204 delegates to attend it in 2019.

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