Friday, May 30, 2008

Con Con Considerations: Presentation

Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

The November ballot will ask voters whether Illinois should have a Constitutional Convention. A Constitutional Convention would be authorized to review any portion of Illinois' Constitution they wanted to -- and to propose an entirely new document, amendments to existing provisions, or additions of new materials.

But the Constitution also leaves much to the General Assembly to determine. Others have taken a position on whether or not there should be a Convention, and even on what issues a Convention should address if it is called. This page is less interested in what a Convention might accomplish as in how it might work.

Last in a series

The 1970 constitution provides that, at the conclusion of a Convention, "any proposed revision or amendments approved by a majority of the delegates shall be submitted to the electors [ie, voters] in such manner as the Convention determines, at an election designated or called by the Convention occurring not less than two nor more than six months after the Convention's adjournment." In theory, the delegates could approve a series of amendment or revisions, but not adjourn until the timing of an election. Moreover, the vote on their findings must be no sooner than two months after the end of the Convention, nor more than six months after the end, meaning that the Convention will likely determine whether the results are voted upon at a Special Election or a Regular Election. How should the final product be presented? As a single up or down vote, as a series of changes, or, as in 1970, a combination of the two: a totally new Constitution and a few separate votes on more controversial components?

How, and When, Should the Convention Present its Findings?

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