Following the January 2016 meeting, the League of Women
Voters board announced a new position calling for safeguards
to govern the constitutional convention process under
Article V of the U.S. Constitution. State Leagues can
use this new position, as well as the new position outlining
considerations for evaluating constitutional amendment
proposals, to address the ongoing debates in many legislatures
regarding constitutional conventions, in particular as
they related to the Balanced Budget amendment.
THE LEAGUE’S POSITION
The League of Women Voters is concerned that there
are many unresolved questions about the powers and
processes of an Article V Constitutional Convention.
The League believes that such a convention should be
called only if the following conditions are in place:
- The Constitutional Convention must be transparent
and not conducted in secret. The public has a
right to know what is being debated and voted on.
- Representation at the Constitutional Convention
must be based on population rather than one state,
one vote, and delegates should be elected rather
than appointed. The delegates represent citizens,
should be elected by them, and must be distributed
by U.S. population.
- Voting at the Constitutional Convention must be
by delegate, not by state. Delegates from one state
can have varying views and should be able to express
them by individual votes.
- The Constitutional Convention must be limited to
a specific topic. It is important to guard against a
“runaway convention” which considers multiple issues
or topics that were not initiated by the states.
- Only state resolutions on a single topic count when
determining if a Constitutional Convention should
be called. Counting state requests by topic ensures
that there is sufficient interest in a particular subject
to call a Convention and enhances citizen interest
and participation in the process.
- The validity of state calls for an Article V Constitutional
Convention must be determined by the most
recent action of the state. If a state has enacted a
rescission of its call, that rescission must be respected
Statement of Position on Constitutional Conventions under
Article V of the U.S. Constitution as Announced by
National Board, January 2016.