On November 2, voters in New York passed two constitutional amendments and rejected three. The approved measures were Proposal 2, an environmental rights amendment, and Proposal 5, a judicial measure. Voters rejected Proposal 1 concerning redistricting processes and Proposal 3 and Proposal 4, which would have allowed for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Proposal 2 received 68.9% of the vote. Proposal 2 added a right to clean water, clean air, and a healthful environment to the New York Constitution’s Bill of Rights. As of 2021, at least six state constitutions included language on environmental rights, including neighboring Pennsylvania.
Proposal 5 received 62.9% of the vote. It allowed the New York City Civil Court to hear and decide lawsuits involving claims of $50,000, rather than the current threshold of $25,000. The New York City Civil Court is a trial court with jurisdiction in New York City. The NYC Civil Court’s original jurisdiction was on claims of $10,000 or less. Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1983 that increased the court’s jurisdiction from $10,000 to $25,000. In 1995, voters rejected a constitutional amendment to increase the NYC Civil Court claims jurisdiction from $25,000 to $50,000.
Proposal 3 and Proposal 4 addressed voting policies and were rejected by 57.7% and 55.8% of voters, respectively, according to results on election night. Proposal 3 would have removed the requirement that persons must register to vote at least ten days before an election, thus authorizing the state legislature to pass a statute for a requirement of fewer than 10 days, such as same-day voter registration. Proposal 4 would have authorized the state legislature to pass a statute for no-excuse absentee voting.
Proposal 1 would have made several changes to redistricting in New York. With 99% of precincts reporting, 55.8% voted “No” on Proposal 1. The constitutional amendment would have changed the vote thresholds for adopting redistricting plans when one political party controls both legislative chambers. It would have also
- required that incarcerated persons be counted at the place of their last residence for redistricting;
- required the state to count residents, including people who are residents but not citizens, should the federal census fail to do so;
- removed the block-on-border requirement for Senate districts;
- capped the number of state senators at 63; and
- moved up the timeline for redistricting and repealed inoperative language.
Between 1995 and 2020, New York voters addressed 25 constitutional amendments, approving 19 (76%) of them. At the 2021 election, voters approved 2 of 5 amendments or 40%.