On the backside of the ballot for this year’s election, Iowa voters have the chance to decide whether or not they would like to have a constitutional convention. The opportunity to call a constitutional convention comes only once every ten years and if the majority of voters check “yes” that means the legislature would have the opportunity review and rewrite all or a portion of the document.
Marion County Democratic Party Chair Anita Martin says she does not support constitutional convention because we have the right to vote on any amendment presented through the amending process that is now in existence. She says this process allows people time to understand the amendment, consider options, ask questions and make a decision based on knowledge. Marion County Republican Party Chairperson Irene Blom says she too is against a constitutional convention because opening up the constitution opens up opportunity for a lot of different things. She says if proponents of gay rights or abortion get their laws in for a vote, things are over and it will pass through but if we keep things as is, those against these issues can continue their battle toward outlawing those actions.
Martin says there are two main issues that have been discussed as possible changes to the constitution include being that of gay marriage and illegal immigration. Blom agrees and adds that prayer in school is also an issue that she thinks would be addressed. She says some people think if we do have a convention they can for sure add ruling that marriage is between one man and one woman, while others say if the constitution is opened up for review that there is less of a chance to get that change made because that gives anyone the option to put in what they want which could result in a bigger fight then they already have on their hands. Blom also says it is a lengthy process to make any sort of changes as it takes an approved committee to develop the change and another statewide vote so it could take up to 2-3 years before we actually would have a different constitution. Martin says she has a problem with people who want to write discrimination into our state Constitution. She says we have worked hard to eliminate discrimination and putting it back seems like a step back in time. If we start going backwards, Martin questions if people realize what rights we could use. She says tampering with our constitutions is serious and should not be taken lightly by either side of the issues.