Rules about constitutional conventions in state constitutions
- See also: Amending state constitutions
- See also: Article XVIII, Alabama Constitution
If both chambers of the Alabama State Legislature agree by a simple majority vote, then a ballot question about whether to have a statewide constitutional convention can be placed on the ballot; if that question is approved by a majority of those voting in that election, then a constitutional convention will be called.
With regard to how a convention should be governed, if one is called, Section 286 of Article XVIII provides minimal direction:
|...nothing herein contained shall be construed as restricting the jurisdiction and power of the convention, when duly assembled in pursuance of this section, to establish such ordinances and to do and perform such things as to the convention may seem necessary or proper for the purpose of altering, revising, or amending the existing Constitution.|
- See also: Article XIII, Alaska Constitution
Article 13 says that an automatic ballot referral to ask the voters of the state whether they wish to convene a statewide constitutional convention must be placed on the statewide ballot every ten years.
Article 13 also allows the Alaska State Legislature to call constitutional conventions whenever they wish.
Section 3 of Article XIII, with regard to how a convention would be governed, says in relevant part:
|...delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular statewide election, unless the legislature provides for the election of the delegates at a special election. The lieutenant governor shall issue the call for the convention. Unless other provisions have been made by law, the call shall conform as nearly as possible to the act calling the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955, including, but not limited to, number of members, districts, election and certification of delegates, and submission and ratification of revisions and ordinances. The appropriation provisions of the call shall be self-executing and shall constitute a first claim on the state treasury.|
- Main article: Article 21, Arizona Constitution
Section 2 of Article 21 of the Arizona Constitution says that when the people call a convention, they will also provide "laws...for such Convention" which seems to suggest that if the people petition the question of calling a convention onto the ballot, their petition should specify relevant details of how the proposed convention would be governed.
|No Convention shall be called by the Legislature to propose alterations, revisions, or amendments to this Constitution, or to propose a new Constitution, unless laws providing for such Convention shall first be approved by the people on a Referendum vote at a regular or special election, and any amendments, alterations, revisions, or new Constitution proposed by such Convention shall be submitted to the electors of the State at a general or special election and be approved by the majority of the electors voting thereon before the same shall become effective.|
- Main article: Section 22, Article 19, Arkansas Constitution
The Arkansas Constitution is one of a handful of state constitutions with no mechanism for calling a convention.
- See also: Section 2 of Article XVIII
Section 2 of Article XVIII provides several specifics about the procedure that must be used:
- The legislature must "provide for the convention" within six months of the time that voters approve holding a convention.
- Delegates to the convention are to be elected on a district-by-district basis.
- The districts from which the convention delegates are elected must have approximately equal populations.
|...If the majority vote yes on that question, within 6 months the Legislature shall provide for the convention. Delegates to a constitutional convention shall be voters elected from districts as nearly equal in population as may be practicable.|
- See also: Article XIX, Colorado Constitution.
According to Article XIX, the Colorado General Assembly by a two-thirds vote of each chamber (the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado State Senate) can place a measure on the ballot asking the state's voters if they want a constitutional convention. The voters can approve a constitutional convention with a simple majority vote. Any proposed amendments coming out of such a convention are then to be submitted to a statewide vote of the people who can approve them by a simple majority.
The Colorado Constitution specifics a number of details about such conventions.
|...if a majority of those voting on the question shall declare in favor of such convention, the general assembly shall, at its next session, provide for the calling thereof. The number of members of the convention shall be twice that of the senate and they shall be elected in the same manner, at the same places, and in the same districts. The general assembly shall, in the act calling the convention, designate the day, hour and place of its meeting; fix the pay of its members and officers, and provide for the payment of the same, together with the necessary expenses of the convention. Before proceeding, the members shall take an oath to support the constitution of the United States, and of the state of Colorado, and to faithfully discharge their duties as members of the convention. The qualifications of members shall be the same as of members of the senate; and vacancies occurring shall be filled in the manner provided for filling vacancies in the general assembly. Said convention shall meet within three months after such election and prepare such revisions, alterations or amendments to the constitution as may be deemed necessary; which shall be submitted to the electors for their ratification or rejection at an election appointed by the convention for that purpose, not less than two nor more than six months after adjournment thereof; and unless so submitted and approved by a majority of the electors voting at the election, no such revision, alteration or amendment shall take effect.|
- Main articles: Article XIII, Connecticut Constitution
- Two-thirds of each legislative chamber must vote for a convention.
- The legislature is not allowed to do this less than ten years after a prior convention.
- Any proposed amendments that arise out of a convention are to be put to a statewide vote where, if they are approved by a simple majority of those voting, become part of the state's constitution.
- Article XIII provides for an automatic ballot referral to the state's electors of whether to hold a constitutional convention; these questions are to be put before the people at intervals not exceeding every twenty years.
|...the general assembly shall, upon roll call, by a yea vote of at least two-thirds of the total membership of each house, prescribe by law the manner of selection of the membership of such convention, the date of convening of such convention, which shall be not later than one year from the date of the roll call vote under Section 1 of this article or one year from the date of the election under Section 2 of this article, as the case may be, and the date for final adjournment of such convention.|
- Main article: Article XVI, Delaware Constitution
Section 2 of Article XVI provides a number of very specific details governing the conduct of a any constitutional conventions held in Delaware:
|...Such Convention shall be composed of forty-one delegates, one of whom shall be chosen from each Representative District by the qualified electors thereof, and two of whom shall be chosen from New Castle County, two from Kent County and two from Sussex County by the qualified electors thereof respectively. The delegates so chosen shall convene at the Capital of the State on the first Tuesday in September next after their election. Every delegate shall receive for his services such compensation as shall be provided by law. A majority of the Convention shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Convention shall have power to appoint such officers, employees and assistants as it may deem necessary, and fix their compensation, and provide for the printing of its documents, journals, debates and proceedings. The Convention shall determine the rules of its proceedings, and be the judge of the elections, returns and qualification of its members. Whenever there shall be a vacancy in the office of delegate from any district or county by reason of failure to elect, ineligibility, death, resignation or otherwise, a writ of election to fill such vacancy shall be issued by the Governor, and such vacancy shall be filled by the qualified electors of such district or county.|
- Main article: Article XI, Florida Constitution
Section 4 grants the people the right to put a question on the ballot as to whether a convention shall be called. The question asked is, "Shall a constitutional convention be held?" (In order to put that question on the ballot, more signatures need to be collected than are required to qualify a standard initiated constitutional amendment for the ballot.)
Section 4 of Article XI also gives some details about how such a convention would operate:
|...If a majority voting on the question votes in the affirmative, at the next succeeding general election there shall be elected from each representative district a member of a constitutional convention. On the twenty-first day following that election, the convention shall sit at the capital, elect officers, adopt rules of procedure, judge the election of its membership, and fix a time and place for its future meetings. Not later than ninety days before the next succeeding general election, the convention shall cause to be filed with the custodian of state records any revision of this constitution proposed by it.|
- Main article: Article X, Georgia Constitution
Paragraph IV of Article X says the state legislature can unilaterally call for a convention as long as 2/3rds of the members of each chamber vote in favor of doing that; the people of the state do not have to be further consulted. Paragraph IV describes how a convention is to be called, and describes how proposals coming out of such a convention are to be addressed by the state's voters, but says very little about how the convention itself would be governed, setting only one parameter:
|...The representation in said convention shall be based on population as near as practicable.|
- Main article: Article XVII, Hawaii Constitution
A constitutional convention can be held in Hawaii under these conditions:
- If the Hawaii State Legislature puts the question, "Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?" on the ballot.
- If the legislature does not act to place such a question on the ballot, the question shall go on the ballot as an automatic ballot referral every ten years.
Section 2 of Article XVII gives a considerable amount of detail about a convention would be organized and conducted:
| Election of Delegates
If a majority of the ballots cast upon such a question be in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular election unless the legislature shall provide for the election of delegates at a special election.
Notwithstanding any provision in this constitution to the contrary, other than Section 3 of Article XVI, any qualified voter of the district concerned shall be eligible to membership in the convention.
The legislature shall provide for the number of delegates to the convention, the areas from which they shall be elected and the manner in which the convention shall convene. The legislature shall also provide for the necessary facilities and equipment for the convention. The convention shall have the same powers and privileges, as nearly as practicable, as provided for the convention of 1978.
The constitutional convention shall convene not less than five months prior to the next regularly scheduled general election.
The convention shall determine its own organization and rules of procedure. It shall be the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its members and, by a two-thirds vote, may suspend or remove any member for cause. The governor shall fill any vacancy by appointment of a qualified voter from the district concerned.
The convention shall provide for the time and manner in which the proposed constitutional revision or amendments shall be submitted to a vote of the electorate; provided that each amendment shall be submitted in the form of a question embracing but one subject; and provided further, that each question shall have designated spaces to mark YES or NO on the amendment.
At least thirty days prior to the submission of any proposed revision or amendments, the convention shall make available for public inspection, a full text of the proposed amendments. Every public library, office of the clerk of each county, and the chief election officer shall be provided such texts and shall make them available for public inspection. The full text of any proposed revision or amendments shall also be made available for inspection at every polling place on the day of the election at which such revision or amendments are submitted.
The convention shall, as provided by law, be responsible for a program of voter education concerning each proposed revision or amendment to be submitted to the electorate.
The revision or amendments shall be effective only if approved at a general election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least fifty per cent of the total vote cast at the election, or at a special election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least thirty per cent of the total number of registered voters.
The provisions of this section shall be self-executing, but the legislature shall make the necessary appropriations and may enact legislation to facilitate their operation.
- Main article: Article XX, Idaho Constitution
According to Section 3 of Article XX of the Idaho Constitution, a constitutional convention can be called if two-thirds of the members of each house of the legislature vote to place before the people a question as to whether the people want to call a convention, and if a majority of the voters voting at the election vote in favor.
Section 3 specifies very little about how such a convention would be organized or governed, saying only:
- Main article: Article XIV, Illinois Constitution
Section 1 of Article XIV says that a constitutional convention can be held in Illinois if 60% of the members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly vote to place such a question on the ballot. Section 1 also dictates that every twenty years, the question of whether to hold a convention must be automatically referred to a statewide ballot. A supermajority vote is required to call the convention of "three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election."
Section 1 also lays out some significant details of how the convention would be organized and governed in subsections (d), (e) and (f).
(e) To be eligible to be a delegate a person must meet the same eligibility requirements as a member of the General Assembly. Vacancies shall be filled as provided by law.
(f) The Convention shall prepare such revision of or amendments to the Constitution as it deems necessary. Any proposed revision or amendments approved by a majority of the delegates elected shall be submitted to the electors 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. Any revision or amendments proposed by the Convention shall be published with explanations, as the Convention provides, at least one month preceding the election.
- Main article: Article X, Iowa Constitution
Iowans can hold a constitutional conventions under these conditions:
If it is decided that a convention will take place, the Section 3 of Article X says only:
- Main article: Article 14, Kansas Constitution
If two-thirds of the members of each house of the Kansas State Legislature vote in favor, the question "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution of the state of Kansas?" or "Shall there be a convention limited to revision of article(s) ________ of the constitution of the state of Kansas?" shall be placed on a statewide ballot. If a simple majority of those voting on that question say "yes", there shall be a convention.
Section 2 of Article 14 goes into a fair amount of detail about the specifics of calling and organizing such a convention:
The convention shall have power to choose its own officers, appoint and remove its employees and fix their compensation, determine its rules, judge the qualifications of its members, and carry on the business of the convention in an orderly manner. Each delegate shall receive such compensation as provided by law. A vacancy in the office of any delegate shall be filled as provided by law.
The convention shall have power to amend or revise all or that part of the constitution indicated by the question voted upon to call the convention, subject to ratification by the electors. No proposed constitution, or amendment or revision of an existing constitution, shall be submitted by the convention to the electors unless it has been available to the delegates in final form at least three days on which the convention is in session, prior to final passage, and receives the assent of a majority of all the delegates. The yeas and nays upon final passage of any proposal, and upon any question upon request of one-tenth of the delegates present, shall be entered in the journal of the convention.
Proposals of the convention shall be submitted to the electors at the first general or special statewide election occurring not less than two months after final action thereon by the convention, and shall take effect in accordance with the provisions thereof in such form and with such notice as is directed by the convention upon receiving the approval of a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon.
- Main article: Mode of Revision, Kentucky Constitution
- A majority of all the members of each of the two chambers of the Kentucky State Legislature agree to place a question before the state's voters about whether to have a constitutional convention.
- In the next session of the legislature, a majority of the members again agree to place this question before the state's voters.
- A majority of those voting on the question say "yes" and if the number of voters voting "yes" is "equal to one-fourth of the number of qualified voters who voted at the last preceding general election".
The Kentucky Constitution also provides some rules for how to go about setting up and managing that convention, to wit:
...If it shall appear that a majority voting on the proposition was for calling a Convention... the Secretary of State shall certify the same to the General Assembly at its next regular session, at which session a law shall be enacted calling a Convention to readopt, revise or amend this Constitution, and such amendments as may have been made thereto.
The Convention shall consist of as many delegates as there are members of the House of Representatives; and the delegates shall have the same qualifications and be elected from the same districts as said Representatives.
Delegates to such Convention shall be elected at the next general State election after the passage of the act calling the Convention, which does not occur within less than ninety days; and they shall meet within ninety days after their election at the Capital of the State, and continue in session until their work is completed.
The General Assembly, in the act calling the Convention, shall provide for comparing the polls and giving certificates of election to the delegates elected, and provide for their compensation.
The Convention, when assembled, shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its members, and shall determine contested elections. But the General Assembly shall, in the act calling the Convention, provide for taking testimony in such cases, and for issuing a writ of election in case of a tie.
- Main article: Article XIII, Louisiana Constitution
Two-thirds of the members of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature can call for a constitutional convention, and the state legislature can also directly call a convention without having to submit the question of whether or not to hold one to the state's voters.
However, the Louisiana Constitution says nothing about how to go about calling a convention, or how to govern one that is called.
However, the constitution says nothing about how to go about calling a convention, or how to govern one that is called.
- Main article: Article XIV, Maryland Constitution
Section 2 of Article 14 says that an automatic ballot referral to ask the voters of the state whether they wish to convene a statewide constitutional convention must be placed on the statewide ballot every twenty years starting in 1970.
The Maryland Constitution also provides some guidance about organizational details of any such convention that might be called:
- Main article: Article XII, Michigan Constitution
...If a majority of the electors voting on the question decide in favor of a convention for such purpose...the electors of each representative district as then organized shall elect one delegate and the electors of each senatorial district as then organized shall elect one delegate at a partisan election. The delegates so elected shall convene at the seat of government on the first Tuesday in October next succeeding such election or at an earlier date if provided by law.
Convention officers, rules, membership, personnel, publications.
The convention shall choose its own officers, determine the rules of its proceedings and judge the qualifications, elections and returns of its members. To fill a vacancy in the office of any delegate, the governor shall appoint a qualified resident of the same district who shall be a member of the same party as the delegate vacating the office. The convention shall have power to appoint such officers, employees and assistants as it deems necessary and to fix their compensation; to provide for the printing and distribution of its documents, journals and proceedings; to explain and disseminate information about the proposed constitution and to complete the business of the convention in an orderly manner. Each delegate shall receive for his services compensation provided by law.
- Main article: Article IX, Minnesota Constitution
Section 3 of Article IX lays out the procedures for holding a convention. For a constitutional convention question to go on the Minnesota ballot, 2/3rds of the members of each chamber of the Minnesota legislature must vote in favor. Any amendments that are proposed by a constitutional convention must go before the state's voters and there, must be approved by a 60% supermajority vote.
A unique feature of Minnesota's constitutional amendment law is that it takes a higher percentage vote (60%) to approve amendments proposed by a constitutional convention than amendments proposed by the legislature.
Section 2 of Article IX provides some detail about how to organize the convention:
- See also: Article XV, Mississippi Constitution
- See also: Article XII, Missouri Constitution
Section 3a also includes a fairly detailed scenario for how delegates to the convention are to be selected:
Section 3b includes even more detail:
|| Text of Section 3(b):
Convention of Delegates—-Quarters—-Oath—-Compensation—-Quorum—-Vote Required-—Organization, Employees, Printing—-Public Sessions—-Rules—-Vacancies
The delegates so elected shall be convened at the seat of government by proclamation of the governor within six months after their election. The facilities of the legislative chambers and legislative quarters shall be made available for the convention and the delegates. Upon convening all delegates shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Missouri, and to discharge faithfully their duties as delegates to the convention, and shall receive for their services the sum of ten dollars per diem and mileage as provided by law for members of the general assembly. A majority of the delegates shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and no constitution or amendment to this constitution shall be submitted to the electors for approval or rejection unless by the assent of a majority of all the delegates-elect, the yeas and nays being entered on the journal. The convention may appoint such officers, employees and assistants as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation, provide for the printing of its documents, journals, proceedings and a record of its debates, and appropriate money for the expenditures incurred. The sessions of the convention shall be held with open doors, and it shall determine the rules of its own proceedings, choose its own officers, and be the judge of the election, returns and qualifications of its delegates. In case of a vacancy by death, resignation or other cause, the vacancy shall be filled by the governor by the appointment of another delegate of the political party of the delegate causing the vacancy.
- See also: Article XIV, Montana Constitution
- Section 1, Article XIV says that the Montana State Legislature, "by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members ... may at any time submit to the qualified electors the question of whether there shall be an unlimited convention to revise, alter, or amend" the constitution.
- Section 2, Article XIV says that the state's electors can put a question about whether to hold a convention on a statewide ballot if a petition is signed by at least ten percent of the qualified electors of the state, including at least ten percent of the qualified electors in each of two-fifths of the legislative districts.
- Section 3, Article XIV says that a question about whether to hold a convention shall automatically go on the ballot every twenty years if it has not otherwise appeared on the ballot.
The Montana Constitution also pays a fair amount of attention to how such a convention would be called and governed.
Section 4 of Article XIV says:
|| Text of Section 4:
Call of Convention
If a majority of those voting on the question answer in the affirmative, the legislature shall provide for the calling thereof at its next session. The number of delegates to the convention shall be the same as that of the larger body of the legislature. The qualifications of delegates shall be the same as the highest qualifications required for election to the legislature. The legislature shall determine whether the delegates may be nominated on a partisan or a non-partisan basis. They shall be elected at the same places and in the same districts as are the members of the legislative body determining the number of delegates.
Section 5 of Article XIV says:
|| Text of Section 5:
The legislature shall, in the act calling the convention, designate the day, hour, and place of its meeting, and fix and provide for the pay of its members and officers and the necessary expenses of the convention.
Section 6 of Article XIV says:
|| Text of Section 6:
Before proceeding, the delegates shall take the oath provided in this constitution. Vacancies occurring shall be filled in the manner provided for filling vacancies in the legislature if not otherwise provided by law.
And Section 7 of Article XIV says:
|| Text of Section 7:
The convention shall meet after the election of the delegates and prepare such revisions, alterations, or amendments to the constitution as may be deemed necessary. They shall be submitted to the qualified electors for ratification or rejection as a whole or in separate articles or amendments as determined by the convention at an election appointed by the convention for that purpose not less than two months after adjournment. Unless so submitted and approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, no such revision, alteration, or amendment shall take effect.
- See also: Article XVI, Nebraska Constitution
A constitutional convention can be held to "revise, amend, or change" the Nebraska Constitution if 60% of Nebraska's legislators agree to put a question about whether to have such a convention before the state's voters. A convention will be held if the question wins by a majority vote as long as those voting in favor equal at least 35% of those voting in the election.
The state's constitution gives some guidance on how such a convention would be called and governed, in Section 2 of Article XVI:
- See also: Article 16, Nevada Constitution
- If two-thirds of the Nevada State Legislature votes in favor, a question about whether to hold a constitutional convention goes on a statewide ballot. That election must be held at the same time as an election is being held for members of the state legislature (that is, a constitutional convention question can't go on a special election ballot).
- A majority vote -- but not a simple majority vote -- of the statewide electorate is required to generate a convention: "In determining what is a majority of the electors voting at such election, reference shall be had to the highest number of votes cast at such election for the candidates for any office or on any question."
However, the Nevada Constitution doesn't have a lot to say about how such a convention would be managed, specifying only two details, (a) a time frame within which the convention must begin and (b) that the number of delegates to the convention can't be less than the number of members of both chambers of the Nevada State Legislature:
Article 100 says that a constitutional convention question can go on the ballot in two different ways:
- Through a majority vote of both houses of the New Hampshire General Court.
- A question about whether to have a convention also goes on the ballot automatically every ten years.
- In each case, the wording of the question is, "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution?"
- A majority of those voting must approve it.
Article 100 also provides some detail on how a convention must be organized and conducted:
(c) The constitutional convention may propose amendments by a three-fifths vote of the entire membership of the convention.
- See also: Article IX, New Jersey Constitution
- See also: Article XIX, New Mexico Constitution
With respect to procedures, Section 2 of Article XIX speaks only to the issue of how many delegates such a convention must have; namely, "at least as many...as there are members of" the New Mexico House of Representatives.
- See also: Article XIX, New York Constitution
The New York State Legislature can also refer a question to the ballot about whether to hold a convention.
The New York Constitution is the only state constitution that describes the constitutional convention process that specifically says what to do should a delegate to the convention die while the convention is still ongoing.
Section 2 of Article XIX also specifies a number of other details as to how a convention would be handled:
- There is a 2/3rds vote of both houses of the state legislature to put a convention question on the ballot.
- A majority of those voting affirm the idea of having a convention.
Section 1 is explicit about a procedure for limiting the topics that can be addressed in a convention, if one is called. It also specifies the number of delegates to the convention, and the manner of apportioning them.
- See also: Article III, North Dakota Constitution
Section 1 of Article III explicitly says that the state's initiative petition process can be used to call a constitutional convention. It is unusual for a constitution to explicitly address this issue.
The North Dakota Constitution provides no mechanism under which the state legislature can initiate a call for a convention.
Section 1 of Article III gives no detail at all about how a convention would be called or governed, except to note:
Ohio can call a constitutional convention in two different ways:
- The Ohio State Legislature, if approved by a 2/3rds majority, can put a question on the ballot about whether to have a convention.
- Every twenty years, starting in 1932, the question "Shall there be a convention to revise, alter, or amend the constitution[,]" is to automatically appear on the state's ballot. This 20-year cycle is invariant regardless of whether the state legislature also votes to put a similar question on the ballot from time to time.
Section 2 of Article XVI provides these details:
- See also: Article XXIV, Oklahoma Constitution
Section 2 of Article XXIV says that constitutional conventions can only be held if approved by a statewide vote. Section 2 also says a question about whether to hold a convention shall automatically appear on the state's ballot every 20 years. The section does not specify any way other than the every-20-years automatic referral, but is worded in such a way as to suggest that there could be other ways for a constitutional convention question to go on the ballot. Other ways could include the state legislature voting to put it there or citizens petitioning to put such a question on the ballot.
Section 2 says that if a convention is held:
- See also: Article XVII, Oregon Constitution
Section 1 of Article XVIII addresses how a constitutional convention can be held but only in the negative by saying "No convention shall be called to amend or propose amendments to this Constitution, or to propose a new Constitution, unless the law providing for such convention shall first be approved by the people on a referendum vote at a regular general election." What is left undefined is how the question of whether to hold a convention can come before the people in the first place: Can citizens petition under Article IV to put it on the ballot? Can the state legislature vote to put it on the ballot?
- Main article: Article XI, Pennsylvania Constitution
Regarding constitutional conventions, the state legislature appears to take as a matter of tradition, rather than explicit constitutional direction, that it can vote to put a constitutional convention question on the ballot. For example, Ann Livak writes in "Pennsylvania's Constitutions and the Amendment Process - Where it Began, Where it is Now" that "...in 1961, the Committee for State Constitutional Revision led by Milton J. Shapp got underway and in 1963 forced the legislature to call for a referendum on a constitutional convention....The 1967 legislature gave priority to constitutional revision and passed a convention enabling bill as well as the amendments awaiting second passage." (This suggests that the legislature voted only once to put the convention question on the ballot.)
- Main article: Article XIV, Rhode Island Constitution
- The question, "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution?", can go on the ballot if approved by a simple majority of the members of both houses of the state's general assembly.
- If the question hasn't appeared on the ballot at any time in a given ten-year period, the Rhode Island Secretary of State must place it on the ballot as an automatic ballot referral.
- If the state's voters by a simple majority vote to hold a convention, then a convention shall be held.
Rhode Island has a unique provision about elections on the constitutional convention question. It is, "Prior to a vote by the qualified electors on the holding of a convention, the general assembly, or the governor if the general assembly fails to act, shall provide for a bi-partisan preparatory commission to assemble information on constitutional questions for the electors." This means that before the vote is held, a preparatory commission must be created to do some groundwork for a convention, if the state's voters choose to hold one.
Section 2 of Article 14 goes on:
- Main article: Article XVI, South Carolina Constitution
Two-thirds of the members elected to each branch of the General Assembly must vote in favor of putting a question about whether to hold a convention on a statewide ballot. A simple majority vote of the state's electors is sufficient to bring about a convention.
Section 3 of Article XVI says:
- Main article: Article XXIII, South Dakota Constitution
South Dakotans can also change their constitution through a convention, according to Section 2 of Article XXIII. There are two ways a convention can happen:
- The state legislature can call a convention through a 75% vote "of all the members of each house." (This vote of the state legislature does not need to then go to a vote of the people; they can directly call a convention with 75% of their membership.)
- Conventions can also be "initiated and submitted to the voters in the same manner as an amendment" by collecting signatures on petitions and putting the question about whether to have a convention to a vote of the state's electors.
Section 2 of Article XXIII says:
- Main article: Section 3 of Article XI of the Tennessee Constitution
- The Legislature can submit to the people at any general election "the question of calling a convention to alter, reform, or abolish" the constitution or any parts of it.
- If a majority of all the voters voting upon the convention question approve the proposal, a convention then is called.
The state cannot hold a convention "oftener than once in six years."
Section 3 of Article XI also says:
The Texas Constitution is one of six state constitutions that do not explicitly make provisions for holding any state constitutional conventions.
- Main article: Article XXIII, Utah Constitution
- A ballot question about whether to hold a convention can go on the ballot if two-thirds of the members of the state legislature vote to put it on the ballot.
- Votes on whether to hold conventions must go on a general election ballot.
If a convention is held and amendments are proposed by the convention, Section 3 of Article XXIII requires a vote of at least a "majority of the electors of the State voting at the next general election." This means that more voters can vote "yes" on a particular amendment than "no" and it still might lose, depending on how many voters altogether vote in that election.
Section 2 of Article XXIII says in relevant part:
- Main article: Amendment of the Constitution, Vermont Constitution
The Vermont Constitution, like that of several other states, does not provide for constitutional conventions. Perhaps as a result, Vermont's current constitution is one of the oldest in the country, having been adopted in 1793. The Massachusetts Constitution is the only older constitution.
In 1969, the Vermont State Legislature referred an advisory measure to the ballot, asking ""Shall a Vermont Constitutional Convention be convened at the state house in Montpelier on October 6, 1969 to consider the following topics which shall receive a majority of the votes cast upon it in this election, and no others?" The state's voters said "no" to this advisory question.
- Main article: Article XII, Virginia Constitution
Section 2 of Article XII governs constitutional conventions in Virginia. A convention can happen if the state's legislature "by a vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house" calls a convention.
Section 2 says:
The General Assembly shall provide by law for the election of delegates to such a convention, and shall also provide for the submission, in such manner as it shall prescribe and not sooner than ninety days after final adjournment of the convention, of the proposals of the convention to the voters qualified to vote in elections by the people. If a majority of those voting vote in favor of any proposal, it shall become effective on the date prescribed by the General Assembly in providing for the submission of the convention proposals to the voters.
- Main article: Article XIV, West Virginia Constitution
Section 1 of Article XIV says in relevant part:
- See also: Article XII, Wisconsin Constitution
Section 2 of Article XII says:
- Main article: Article 20, Wyoming Constitution
Section 3 of Article 20 says: