ABOUT US HOW IT WORKS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1. What is ThePeoplesConvention.org?

ThePeoplesConvention.org is a series of neutral, nonpartisan, citizen-driven workshops providing the American people with the opportunity to fairly, honestly, and respectfully upgrade their democratic process themselves—free from the influence of special interests. ThePeoplesConvention.org is the work product of The People’s Convention, Inc., a neutral, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, convention organizer based in Sedona, Arizona subsequent to the landmark Conference on a Constitutional Convention held at Harvard Law School in 2011.

The PeoplesConvention.org has conducted numerous workshops designing and testing a modern innovative convention process and produced remarkably successful results.

2. How does it work?

  • WE BRING AMERICANS TOGETHER respectfully, fairly balanced across the political spectrum—free from the influence of special interests
  • THEY AGREE on what THEY SAY would make the BIGGEST difference in upgrading the American democratic process
  • WE SUPPORT THEM in drafting 1-3 short proposals likely to be implemented as legislation or constitutional amendments
  • WE SUPPORT THEM in creating effective teams and plans to implement their proposal(s)
  • WE SUPPORT THEM in coordinating their actions with teams in other states

3. Why amend a constitution? 

The American people are supposed to be able to rely on their elected representatives to represent them fairly, honestly, and address their concerns. However, when the representatives fail to do so, the nation’s founders provided the American people with the constitutional right in the First Amendment to

  • Bypass their elected representatives
  • Come together in their own convention
  • Draft constitutional amendments addressing their concerns, and
  • Submit them for approval

4. Why hold a convention 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 21th in 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 accept bribes and gifts that affect their vote
  • 91% believe they were subjected to false/misleading political campaigns
  • 83% are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed
  • 79% are frustrated or angry with the federal government
  • 78% disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job
  • 78% are dissatisfied with the nation’s political system
  • 65% don’t trust members of Congress to tell the truth
  • 70% believe the media is out of touch with average Americans
  • 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 – 72-74% want a balanced budget
  • Campaign Finance – 67-83% want campaign finance reform
  • Climate Change – 74-92% want the government to reduce greenhouse gases
  • Ethics – 64-90% want increased ethical standards for public policymakers and media
  • Affordable Healthcare
  • Term Limits – 75-78% want term limits for members of Congress 

5. Who is behind the convention?

Blair C. Henry JD is 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 has been accomplished so far?

Twenty workshops with 450 Americans fairly balanced across the political spectrum has resulted in three proposed amendments approved by over 75-90% 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 Three Sedona Amendments. 

7. Is this a convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution?

No. An Article V(five) convention is

  • Is dominated almost exclusively by state legislators
  • Focused on solely amending the national constitution, and
  • Has never been successful, despite dozens of attempts, in over 225 years

ThePeoplesConvention.org relies on the constitutional right of the American people under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to

  • Hold their own convention—free from interference by professional politicians, political parties, and other special interests
  • Petition their state and federal government with proposed constitutional amendments, and
  • Focuses on amending either the state or national constitution

Amending a state constitution will often be easier and quicker than amending the U.S. Constitution which requires the approval by 38 state legislatures (75% of total). This is what makes a First Amendment convention distinctly different, and much more effective, than most of the current Article V convention efforts to amend the constitution:

Article V (five) convention
Highly partisan with predetermined outcomes
Focuses exclusively on what state legislators want
Relies exclusively on Article V
Focuses exclusively on the U.S. Constitution

First Amendment Convention
Neutral, nonpartisan, open agenda
Focuses exclusively on what everyday Americans want
Relies primarily on 1st Amendment and then Article V
Focuses on legislation, state constitutions, and U.S. Constitution

8. How do you amend constitution? 

(a) Each state has its own rules for amending its state constitution. (b) There are three ways to PROPOSE amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

  1. CONGRESS may propose amendments as part of the three-step process under Article V.  All 27 amendments to date have been accomplished this way.
  2. THE STATE LEGISLATORS may hold a convention to propose amendments as part of the four-step process also underArticle V. A convention has never been held in over 225 years.
  3. THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES may hold their own convention to propose amendments—free from interference by professional politicians, political parties, and other special interests—as part of the two-step process the First Amendment.

Regardless of the avenue used to PROPOSE an amendment to the national constitution, it can only be APPROVED by the legislatures/conventions of 38 states (75% of total).

9. What’s Next?

Raising the funds to schedule a series of workshops around the nation. The typical cost of the one day workshop of 100 participants is $25,000 which includes the staffing, equipment, venue, electronic audience response voting system, videographers, sound technician, coffee, tea, soda and lunch. Costs may be reduced by local hosts securing lower cost, or in-kind, contributions. Local hosts may also charge whatever admission fee they want, if any. However, scholarships must be available for 14% of the applicants indicating they are below the national poverty line.  Donations and sponsorships for workshops are accepted at ThePeoplesConvention.org or our GoFundMe campaign.

10. 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%. 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. 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, please contact Blair Henry.

11. What can I do to support and participate?

[1] http://thepeoplesconvention.org/pollings/ [2] Democracy Index 2016: The Economist Intelligence Unit http://thepeoplesconvention.org/democracy-index/