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NY still needs changes

Voters in New York overwhelmingly rejected a Constitutional Convention on Tuesday.

That is not a huge surprise, given the confusion surrounding how a convention would work and the organized opposition campaign waged against the prospect.

And there were legitimate reasons for voters to be concerned about the idea of a Constitutional Convention.

Many people argued that a convention would just consist of the same career politicians who are already entrenched in Albany, thus limiting the possibility for real change.

There were also concerns about special interests having outsized influence over the proposed amendments that would come out of a convention.

And some people simply balked at the potential price tag of holding a Constitutional Convention.

But while those may have been valid reasons for voters to oppose holding a Constitutional Convention, it should not be a sign that New York’s governance needs no changes.

Ethics reform is one area that might have been easier to accomplish at a convention, depending on the makeup of the delegates, because it is tricky to ask the politicians in Albany to regulate themselves. The passage of ballot proposal No. 2, allowing a court to revoke the pension of a public official convicted of a felony, is a good start, but much more is needed.

New York also needs to address its entire voting system, as it is one of the least voter-friendly states in the country. Restrictive primary rules, early registration deadlines, multiple election dates and other practices in New York inhibit voter turnout and need to be changed to encourage full participation in our democracy.

Other issues that could have been on the table at a convention—legislative redistricting, greater budget transparency, term limits, simplifying the court structure—also still merit consideration.

Having passed on the opportunity to enact changes without the Legislature’s involvement, New York’s voters now need to put pressure on lawmakers to make legislative changes that will improve the way New York is governed.

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