The State Constitutional

Convention Clearinghouse

U.S. states where the people can use a periodic state constitutional convention referendum
to bypass the legislature's gatekeeping power over constitutional amendment


The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse is a project of 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 (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)

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

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

(Letter to William Charles Jarvis, Sept. 28, 1820)

The Jefferson Memorial

[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)

Website Editor,
J.H. Snider

J.H. Snider is the editor of The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse, which is a project of, 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 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.

Compilation of the Non-Scholarly Articles Below

Snider, J.H., The U.S. State Con-Con Papers, Social Science Research Network, June 24, 2024. This is a compilation of the non-scholarly articles listed below. It has two advantages over the links below. First, many of the articles below are behind paywalls or have broken links. Second, its book format provides a different and more convenient type of access for many purposes.

Conference Presentations and Articles
Providing a Multi-State Perspective

(in reverse chronological order)

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.

Series on Campaign Finance-Related Issues

(The Fulcrum is a trade publication for America’s Democratic Reform Community)

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.

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

    Publications on the U.S. Virgin Islands
    2023 Constitutional Convention Enabling Act

    (The last time a U.S. state enacted a constitutional convention enabling act was close to four decades ago.)

    State-Specific Op-eds on the
    Periodic State Constitutional Convention Referendum

    Op-eds on Rhode Island’s 2024 Constitutional Convention Referendum

    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.