The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse is a project of iSolon.org. Its mission is to educate the public about upcoming periodic referendums on whether to call a state constitutional convention.

Various factors have contributed to creating an information vacuum on the subject of periodic state constitutional conventions. These factors include an absence of education on the subject in high school, college, and graduate level courses on American government; lack of academic interest in the subject in the fields of political science, political history, and election law; the infrequent, local, and seemingly quixotic nature of state constitutional convention based democratic reform; and the well-resourced and fierce opposition to state constitutional conventions by state legislatures and groups most effective at exerting influence via state legislatures. Despite these factors, the periodic state constitutional convention serves an essential democratic function within the system of American government. It is also an institution worthy of improvement.

To report mistakes on this website, please use this website’s contact form. It is inevitable that many of the links on this website will become non-operational over time. Many can nevertheless be accessed by going to  https://archive.org/web (The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine) and entering the apparently defunct URL.

This website is a work in progress, with some notable gaps that year-by-year are gradually being filled in. Some gaps will only be filled when the referendums near in the various states that have such referendums.  The detailed information about each state is not located on this domain/website but the subdomains/websites of the states that in recent years have held state constitutional conventions. See Maryland (2010), Rhode Island (2014), New York (2017), Hawaii (2018), and Iowa (2020). Much of the early research for this website was done via Nexis and Factiva searches that were not suitable for posting on the Internet.

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson, U.S. president and author of the Declaration of Indendence

(inscribed on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC adjacent to Jefferson's statue)

[T]o me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse.

Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president

(First inaugural address, March 4, 1861)

The Jefferson Memorial

Website Editor,
J.H. Snider

J.H. Snider is the editor of The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse, which is a project of iSolon.org, a public policy institute that focuses on the most difficult areas of democratic reform─where elected officials have a conflict of interest in bringing about reforms that might reduce their own power. Snider has been president of iSolon.org since 2007.

Snider believes that the periodic state constitutional convention provides a vital democratic function yet has come to be neglected by both scholars and practitioners. He hopes that when the public is informed of the institution’s democratic function and history, including both its strengths and weaknesses, it will support and seek to enhance this mechanism of democratic reform.

During Spring Semester 2008, Snider was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. From 2011-2013, he was a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. He has also been a fellow at the New America Foundation (2001-2007), American Political Science Association (1999-2000), and Northwestern University (1998-1999). He has a Ph.D. in American Government from Northwestern University and an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College.

Snider is a member of Oxford University’s U.S. State Constitutions Network, the author of “Does the World Really Belong to the Living? The Decline of the Constitutional Convention in New York and Other US States, 1776–2015,” Journal of American Political Thought 6, no. 2 (Spring 2017), and the author more than forty local op-eds on upcoming state constitutional convention referendums.

Conference on State Constitutions

J.H. Snider’s presentation, How the Public Reasons about State Constitutional Convention Referendums, at State Constitutions and Governance in the U.S., a conference held at the Utah Valley University Center for Constitutional Studies, November 3-4, 2021.

Conference on Direct Democracy

J.H. Snider’s presentation, Reforming the Process of Democratic Reform, at the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, Mexico City, March 2, 2023.

Draft Paper

Voting on Constitutional Reform in the States, 79th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2021. Snider presented a paper, “The Periodic State Constitutional Convention in Early American Thought,” at this panel discussion on state constitutional reform. This panel analyzes voter decision-making on state constitutional changes, whether amendments to state constitutions or referenda on calling a state constitutional convention. Within the video recording, Snider’s presentation begins at 55:40.

Journal Article on State Constitutional Convention Referendums

Symposium on State Constitutional Convention Referendums

Course on State Constitutional Convention Referendums

Compilation of Op-Eds on Recent State Constitutional Convention Referendums

Snider, J.H., The State Con-Con Papers, Social Science Research Network, November 8, 2021. Some of the op-eds below are no longer available via their published URLs. So for a convenient way to access all of them through October 2018, download this compilation.

Series for America’s Democratic Reform Community

Op-eds on U.S. Virgin Islands 2023 Constitutional Convention Enabling Act

Op-eds on Alaska’s 2022 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on Missouri’s 2022 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on New Hampshire’s 2022 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on Iowa’s 2020 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on Hawaii‘s 2018 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on New York’s 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-ed on Illinois’ 2016 Constitutional Initiative Referendums

Op-eds on Rhode Island’s 2014 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Blog Posts on Rhode Island’s 2014 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-eds on Maryland’s 2010 Constitutional Convention Referendum

Op-ed on Analogous Process at the Local/Charter level of Government

Snider, J.H., Fix Anne Arundel’s decennial charter revision process, Washington Post, Oct. 5, 2016.




The author standing in front of the Statue of Liberty on a rainy, uncrowded day in February.

J.H. Snider standing in front of the Statue of Liberty on a rainy, uncrowded day in February. Note that the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of popular sovereignty as well as liberty. Édouard Laboulaye, the Frenchman and constitutional scholar who conceived it, was a passionate advocate of America’s state constitutional convention tradition, which entailed 1) the sovereign people electing a state constitutional convention independent of the legislature, 2) the convention proposing constitutional reforms, and 3) the people voting the  proposals up or down. In contrast, he believed French legislative bodies had repeatedly devolved into tyranny because of their complete control of the constitutional reform process. See Laboulaye, Édouard, “Du Pouvior Constituant,” Revue des Deux Mondes, October 15, 1871, pp. 792-814.