How It Works – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is ThePeoplesConvention.org?

ThePeoplesConvention.org (TPC) conducts neutral, nonpartisan, citizen-driven workshops providing the

American people with the opportunity to fairly, honestly, and respectfully upgrade their democratic process. The results to date have included proposed constitutional amendments

  • Getting the money out of politics
  • Requiring complete honesty in our political process
  • Raising the ethical standards in government

ThePeoplesConvention.org is the work product of The People’s Convention, Inc., a neutral, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, convention organizer created in Sedona, Arizona after the landmark Conference on a Constitutional Convention held at Harvard Law School in 2011.

2. How does it work?

  • WE BRING AMERICANS TOGETHERfairly balanced across the political spectrum
  • THEY AGREEon whatTHEY SAYwould make theBIGGESTdifference in upgrading the American democratic process
  • WE SUPPORT THEM in drafting1-3 short proposals likely to be implemented as legislation or constitutional amendments
  • WE SUPPORT THEMin creating effective, bipartisan teams and plans to implement their proposal(s)
  • WE SUPPORT THEM in coordinating their actions with teams in other states

3. Why we are doing this

We Americans are supposed to be able to rely on our elected representatives to address our concerns and represent us fairly, honestly, and loyally. However, when our representatives fail to do so, our nation’s founders provided us with the constitutional right in the First Amendment (different from Article V (five) of the U.S. Constitution) to

  • Bypass our elected representatives
  • Come together in our own workshops
  • Draft proposals addressing our concerns
  • Submit them for approval by our state legislature and/or the people in our state

4. Why we are doing this now

  • Trust and confidence in the American democratic process is at or near an all-time low[1]
  • Democracies fail when they lose the trust and confidence of the people
  • America ranks 25thin the world in terms of actually being democratic[2]
  • Most Americans don’t know what they can do about it

Of the Americans polled:

  • 93% believe members of Congress acceptbribesand gifts that affect their vote
  • 91% believe they were subjected tofalse/misleading political campaigns
  • 83% aredissatisfiedwith the way the country is being governed
  • 79% arefrustrated or angrywith the federal government
  • 78%disapproveof the way Congress is handling its job
  • 78% aredissatisfiedwith the nation’s political system
  • 70% believe the media is out of touch with average Americans
  • 65%don’t trustmembers of Congress to tell the truth
  • 64% no longer believe the media serves the role of checking the powers of government
  • 29% believe the news organizations generally get the facts straight

There are now also at least six different reforms today supported by over 70% of Americans that Congress refuses to address (in alphabetical order):

  • Balanced Budget – 72-96% want a balanced budget and/or reduced national debt
  • Campaign Finance – 80-88% want campaign financereform
  • Climate Change – 74-92% want the government to reducegreenhouse gases
  • Ethics – 64-91% want increased ethical standardsfor public policymakers and media
  • Affordable Healthcare – 70-78% want affordable health care
  • Term Limits– 75-78% wantterm limitsfor members of Congress

5. Who’s behind these workshops?

Blair C. Henry JDis the Founder & Executive Director of The People’s Convention Inc. Blair has served as a Seattle corporate attorney, deputy prosecuting attorney, certified mediator and university professor.Blair also served on Capitol Hill in Washington DC during Watergate, as a delegate to both the Washington State Democratic and Republican state conventions, candidate for the U.S. Senate,and is currently a registered independent voter living in Sedona, Arizona.

6. What’s been accomplished so far?

Twenty workshops with 450 Americans fairly balanced across the political spectrum has resulted in three proposed amendments approved by over 75% of the participants

  • Getting the influence of money out of politics
  • Requiring complete honesty in the political process
  • Increasing the ethical standards for those in public service.

These are known as The Sedona Amendments.

7. Are these workshops the same as a convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution?

No. Here’s the difference between an Article V (five) Convention and a First Amendment Workshop (which we offer and support))

Amending a state constitution is often easier than amending the U.S. Constitution which requires the approval by 38 state legislatures (75% of total). We believe the ability of the people to amend their state constitution, and the fact that this process is nonpartisan, open and transparent, is what makes a First Amendment (Citizen-Driven) Workshop distinctly different, and much more effective, than the efforts relying on an Article V (State Legislators) Convention to amend the constitution.

8. Who else is working on this kind of thing?

At last check, there were at least six organizations working toward creating a never-before-successful Article V (five) Convention dominated by state legislators. Some of the organizations are far right politically, some are more middle of the road, and one if left leaning politically.

9. How is a constitution amended?

First, each state has its own rules for amending its state constitution. On the other hand, there are three waystoPROPOSEamendments (which is different from APPROVING amendments) to the U.S. Constitution:

  1. CONGRESSmay propose amendments as part of thethree-step processunderArticle V. All 27 amendments to date have been accomplished this way.
  2. THE STATE LEGISLATORSmay hold a convention to propose amendments as part of thefour-step process also under Article V. A convention has never been held in over 230 years.
  3. THE PEOPLE THEMSELVESmay hold their own workshops to propose their own amendments—free from interference by professional politicians, political parties, and other special interests—as part of thetwo-step process under the First Amendment.

Regardless of the avenue used toPROPOSE an amendment to the national constitution, a PROPOSAL can only be APPROVED by the legislatures/conventions of 38 states (75% of total) pursuant to Article V (five) of the U.S. Constitution.

10. What’s Next?

Those interested in participating in, or supporting, a workshop in their area should indicate their interest here.

11. Is this part of a BIGGER picture?

Yes. Democracies fail when they lose the trust and confidence of the people—and trust and confidence in the American democratic process is now at or near an all-time low—an estimated 17%. We believe a strong and healthy democratic process is one that has the trust and confidence of the vast majority of the people–think 75% or more. Now normally, we would rely on our elected representatives to address the issue. However, when it becomes evident our elected representatives are not going to address the issue, its up to We The People to step in, amend our constitution, and re-direct our government. ThePeoplesConvention.org is about

  • EMPOWERMENT– Providing the American people with the possibility and opportunity to fairly, honestly and respectfully upgrade their democratic process themselves.

This may seem daunting in and of itself. However, it is actually only one piece in the BIGGER PICTURE of restoring trust and confidence in the American democratic process. Other pieces include

  • RELIABLE INFORMATION– Providing the American people with an immediate, reliable and independently verified, source of complete, honest, accurate and intelligible information (CHAI) on matters of public policy
  • RELIABLE ACCESS– Providing the American people with an immediate, nationwide, reliable and secure, online system of voting and voter registration
  • EVERY VOTE COUNTS– Replacing the “winner-take-all” system of voting that effectively disenfranchises up to almost 50% of all voters with a voting system that makes sure “every vote counts” – or at least 95% of them

If you are interested in participating or supporting one or more of those goals, pleasecontact Blair Henry.

11. What can I do to support and participate?

[1] https://thepeoplesconvention.org/polling/ [2] Democracy Index 2016: The Economist Intelligence Unit https://thepeoplesconvention.org/democracy-index/ [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row]

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