Iowa Constitutional Convention Question, Measure 2 (2010)

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The Iowa Constitutional Convention Question, also known as Measure 2, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Iowa as an automatic ballot referral, where it was defeated. Defeatedd The question appears on the Iowa ballot automatically every 10 years as per the state constitution. The last constitutional convention question was defeated by a simple majority of Iowa voters.[1]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official results of the measure follow:

Measure 2 (Con Con)
Defeatedd No649,31667.16%
Yes 317,577 32.84%

Results via the Iowa Secretary of State.

Text of measure

Ballot title

According to the Article X, Section 3 of the Iowa Constitution, the question Iowa voters see every 10 years reads as follows:

"Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?"[2]



  • The main campaign for the measure was Call the Convention. President Nathan Tucker stated, "There are a number of amendments that need to be passed and the Legislature has shown an unwillingness to do it. A convention is needed to bypass the Legislature and get the matter into our own hands."[3]
  • The Iowa Catholic Conference was in support of the measure, stating that they wanted to discuss the issue of gay marriage. Group spokesman Tom Chapman stated, "The main reason is we really haven’t been able to have a debate on the marriage issue at the legislature. I think the idea would be is that this issue would hit the floor at the legislature, let’s have a vigorous debate about what’s the direction we should go on marriage and kind of go from there but, simply, that hasn’t happened, so we look at the constitutional convention as a way to have that discussion.”[4]


Stan Walk, who was a 10-year Mitchell County supervisor, stated in an editorial published by The Global Gazette, that there were three reasons why voters should vote 'yes' to the constitutional convention. Those three reasons were as follows:[5]

  • "Iowa needs tort reform."
  • "Iowa needs a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget."
  • "Lobbyists. Big money interests are able to buy their favorable legislation."

An expansion of those reasons can be found here.

  • Trudy Caviness, Wapello County Republicans’ Chairperson, stated reasons about what good could come out of a constitutional convention, stating, “First of all, if there's ideas and things that people want to do to add to the convention, it would be done reasonably quickly compared to what it is [without the convention referendum], and I understand some of the people want to bring up something like ‘we could amend our constitution similar to California with a referendum.’ That is one thing some of the people that are advocating for a constitutional convention would like to see happen.”[6]
  • According to Dean Close, who wrote a column in the Vinton Today, voters would benefit from voting yes on the measure come November. Close stated, "I am going to vote “Yes” on the Constitutional Convention question, and here’s why: A Constitutional Convention would at least make more Iowans more aware of what is actually in the Iowa Constitution. This includes all the Iowans who would participate in the Constitutional Convention process."[7]




The following arguments were made against the measure:

  • Controversy surrounding the same-sex marriage issue put the constitutional convention under the limelight. In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state. This caused conservatives in Iowa to campaign for the constitutional convention, which they thought could have been a way to reverse the ruling.
  • However many Republicans in the state argued against the measure, saying that if their Democratic counterparts gained control of the Iowa Legislature, they would set the terms of the constitutional convention.[8]

Other perspectives

  • According to academics in the state, which were consulted by the publication Omaha World Herald, stated that the measure would not be successful come November, due to the unknown. According to Tim Hagle, associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa, "Voters, I think, are by and large leery of constitutional conventions because of the you-never-know-what-you’re-going-to-get aspect. People may be interested in one particular issue, but once the delegates get going, nobody knows what they are going to come up with.”[9]

Media Endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Iowa ballot measures, 2010


  • The Des Moines Register stated that there was no need for a constitutional convention due to issues at the time that could have had negative impacts on the state. The publication wrote, "It's good that voters have regular a opportunity to call for a constitutional convention. But they should have a good reason for doing so. Limiting rights is not one of them."[10]
  • The Cedar Rapids Gazette posted an editorial stating their opposition to the convention. The publication stated, "In the past, the constitutional convention question has come as a surprise to most voters. Every time it’s come up — in 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 — they’ve have had the good sense to vote “no.” That’s the right choice again this year."[11]

Path to the ballot

The question appears on the Iowa ballot automatically every 10 years as per the state constitution. This can be found in Article X, Section 3 of the Iowa Constitution. The text of that section reads as follows:

At the general election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy, and in each tenth year thereafter, and also at such times as the general assembly may, by law, provide, the question, "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?" shall be decided by the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly; and in case a majority of the electors so qualified, voting at such election, for and against such proposition, shall decide in favor of a convention for such purpose, the general assembly, at its next session, shall provide by law for the election of delegates to such convention, and for submitting the results of said convention to the people, in such manner and at such time as the general assembly shall provide; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments, by a majority of the electors qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the constitution of this state. If two or more amendments shall be submitted at the same time, they shall be submitted in such a manner that electors may vote for or against each such amendment separately.

Similar measures

Constitutional conventions on the ballot in 2010
Nevada 2010 ballot measuresUtah 2010 ballot measuresColorado Fetal Personhood, Amendment 62 (2010)New Mexico 2010 ballot measuresArizona 2010 ballot measuresMontana 2010 ballot measuresCalifornia 2010 ballot measuresOregon 2010 ballot measuresWashington 2010 ballot measuresIdaho 2010 ballot measuresOklahoma 2010 ballot measuresKansas 2010 ballot measuresNebraska 2010 ballot measuresSouth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresNorth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresIowa 2010 ballot measuresMissouri 2010 ballot measuresArkansas 2010 ballot measuresLouisiana 2010 ballot measuresAlabama 2010 ballot measuresGeorgia 2010 ballot measuresFlorida 2010 ballot measuresSouth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIllinois 2010 ballot measuresTennessee 2010 ballot measuresNorth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIndiana 2010 ballot measuresOhio 2010 ballot measuresMaine 2010 ballot measuresVirginia 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresMassachusetts 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresAlaska Parental Notification Initiative, Ballot Measure 2 (2010)Hawaii 2010 ballot measuresCertified, constitutional conventions, 2010 Map.png

According to reports, the state of Iowa is one of 14 states that ask voters once in a decade or more whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. The other states that have this requirement in their constitutions are:

Every 10 years

Five states have a Constitutional Convention question on the statewide ballot every ten years:

Every 16 years

One state has a Constitutional Convention question on the statewide ballot every sixteen years:

Every 20 years

Eight states have a Constitutional Convention question on the statewide ballot every twenty years:

See also


External links

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