As the Hudson Valley heads to the polls, you should be aware that there are three important questions for you to vote on.

Of course every county has a number of local elections, but on the back of your Election Day ballot you should find three statewide questions for you to vote one.

Question 1: ‘Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?’

The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years voters decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the State Constitution.

The question allows New Yorkers to decide whether a Constitutional Convention will be held according to the procedure provided by the State Constitution.

If a majority voting on this Question votes “No,” there will be no Constitutional Convention.

If a majority votes “Yes,” three delegates from each state senatorial district will be elected in November 2018, along with 15 at-large delegates who will be elected statewide. Amendments adopted by a majority of the delegates will be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection in a statewide referendum.

Question 2: Should New York State allow, ‘the Complete or Partial Forfeiture of a Public Officer’s Pension if He or She is Convicted of a Certain Type of Felony?’

As of now, according to New York’s Constitution, the benefits of a public pension or retirement system cannot be reduced or impaired.
The purpose of the proposed amendment is to allow a court to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s duties.

The proposed amendment would define “public officer” to mean the following:

  • A person filling an elected office within New York;
  • A person holding an office that is filled by appointment by the New York Governor, whether or not that appointment has to be confirmed by the Senate;
  • A county, city, town, or village manager or administrator, or equivalent position;
    The head of any state or local government department, division, board, commission, bureau, public benefit corporation, or public authority in New York who is vested with authority, direction, and control over that entity;
  • The chief fiscal officer or treasurer of a municipal corporation or political subdivision in New York;
  • A judge or justice of the Unified Court System; and
  • A legislative, executive, or judicial employee who directly assists in the formulation of legislation, rules, regulations, policy, or judicial decision-making and who is designated by law as a policy-maker.

Question 3: Should New York Authorize ‘The Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes?”

New York State’s Constitution protects the State’s forest preserve as wild forest land and generally prohibits the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment will create two exceptions, if passed, to this broad protection of the forest preserve to make it easier for municipalities to undertake certain health and safety projects.

Exception 1: The amendment will create a land account of up to 250 acres of forest preserve land. A town, village, or county can apply to the land account if it has no viable alternative to using forest preserve land for certain limited health and safety purposes.

Exception 2: The amendment will allow bicycle paths and specified types of public utility lines to be located within the widths of state, county, and certain town highways that traverse forest preserve land. That would allow towns, villages and counties to add bike trails and public utility lines near highways that go through the forest preserve.

If you are having problems or see something wrong at the polls, there's a number you can call. New York State residents can dial the Attorney General's hotline number at 1-800-771-7755.