This guide describes what this ballot initiative means. This information is offered as a public service. It is non-partisan.
The Constitutional Convention - Overview
- The 1970 Illinois Constitution mandates that voters decide if the Illinois Constitution needs to be revised or rewritten every 20 years by convening a Constitutional Convention.
- On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, voters will be asked to decide whether or not Illinois should convene a Constitutional Convention.
- The last time voters addressed this issue was in 1988 when they rejected the call for a Constitutional Convention. The vote was 75% against the convention and 25% for it.
What is the Illinois State Constitution?Our state constitution establishes our government's structure and laws. According to the Secretary of State's office, it also does the following:
- Provides rights and protections to citizens
- Creates the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government
- Clarifies the powers given to local governments
- Limits the taxing power of the State
- Imposes certain restrictions on the use of taxpayer dollars
- A Constitutional Convention may propose changes to any part
- The General Assembly may propose changes to any part
- The People of the State by referendum may propose changes to any part
What is a Constitutional Convention?The Illinois Secretary of State's office describes a Constitutional Convention as follows.
"A constitutional convention is a meeting of delegates elected by the people to review the Constitution. During a convention, the delegates may propose changes to parts of the current Constitution, write a new Constitution, or make no changes whatsoever."
"If the People of the State decide on November 4, 2008 that it is necessary to call a constitutional convention, a separate election will be held to elect delegates to represent the voters during the constitutional convention. The elected delegates will meet to review the current constitution and decide whether the constitution should be revised and rewritten. There is no limit as to how long a constitutional convention may meet. The last constitutional convention met for nine months. Once the delegates complete their work, the voters will have an opportunity to approve or reject proposed changes."