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Rearranged under Functional Heads, Captions Corresponding with Subjects Discussed in Report and Annotated to Prior Constitutions

To the end that the provisions governing the organization, powers, duties and limitations of the government of the state may be made more readily available to members of the convention and to others (who may be interested in this report) all of the matter of the Constitution has been rearranged under the following titles:

Enacting Clause

Declaration of Rights Reserved by the People

The Electorate and Electors


The Legislature

The Executive

Financial and Other Proprietary Departments, Boards and


Civil Departments for Rendering Service to the Public

Military Government

The General Auditor

The Courts

Local Government


Provisions of Private Law included in the Constitution
Schedule (Interim and Temporary Provisions)

In this rearrangement the language of the present Constitution is used, except where by breaking up the context the meaning would be impaired without change of verbal form, in which event the words supplied are put in brackets. The annotations at the side constitute an outline analysis with exact references to the original document. The annotations at the bottom of each paragraph are to former Constitutions-the purpose being to give a complete history of the evolution of each clause as used here. The use of running article numbers, section numbers and paragraph numbers in the text is for convenience of reference to the rearrangement.

Enacting Clause

Rearranged and Annotated


We the People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessing do establish this Constitution.



Art. I, Sec. 1

Religious Freedom
Art. I, Sec. 3

Freedom of Speech and of the Press Art. I, Sec. 8

Habeas Corpus
Art. I, Sec. 4

Jury Trial
Art. 1, Sec. 2

Section 1. [The people of the state hereby make this declaration of principles and reserve to themselves the following rights, which may not be impaired.]

2. No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers.

(1777, XIII; 1821, VII, 1; 1846, I, 1)

3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all mankind. * * *The liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

(1777, XXXVIII; 1821, VII, 3; 1846, I, 3)

4. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

(1821, VII, 8; 1846, I, 8)

5. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension.

(1821, VII, 6; 1846, I, 4)

6. The trial by jury in all cases in which it has been heretofore used shall remain inviolate forever; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law.

(1777, XLI; 1821, VII, 2; 1846, I, 2)

* While the constitution of 1777 had no preamble it had an elaborate introduction which took up one-third of the entire document. Beginning with the statement that, "Whereas the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of the King and Parliament of Great Britain on the rights and liberties of the people of the American colonies had reduced them to the necessity of introducing a government by congresses and committees, as temporary expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain without redress," it proceeded to set forth the resolution of the General Congress recommending that new governments be organized in the colonies; the resolution of the Congress of the colony of New York, making recommendations for carrying this suggestion into effect; the fact that delegates had been elected with authority to frame a new government; the declaration of independence in full and the fact of its approval by the delegates and then continued: "By virtue of which several acts, declarations, and proceedings mentioned and contained in the afore-cited resolves or resolutions of the general Congress of the United American States, and of the congress or conventions of this State, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people, thereof, and this convention hath by their suffrages and free choice been appointed, and among other things authorized to institute and establish such a government, as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this State, most conducive of the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general. This convention, therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine, and declare that no authority shall, on any pretense whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this State, but such as shall be derived from and granted by them." În a similar way the convention of 1801 prefaced its amendments by a recital of the act of the legislature providing for the election of delegates, the election of delegates and the fact of their deliberation. The convention of 1821 dropped the long introduction and adopted the following preamble: "We, the people of the State of New York, acknowledging with gratitude the grace and beneficence of God in permitting us to make choice of our form of government, do establish this constitu tion." In 1846 the preamble was amended to its present form.

Excessive Bail and
Detention of Wit-


Art. I, Sec. 5

Art. I, Sec. 6

Double Jeopardy
Art. I, Sec. 6

Criminating Evidence
Art. I, Sec. 6

Due Process
Art. I, Sec. 6

Art. I, Sec. 6

Taking Private
Art. I, Sec. 6

7. Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.

(1846, I, 5)

8. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of militia when in actual service, and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this state may keep with consent of congress in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny under the regulation of the legislature), unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury.

(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)

9. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.

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(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)

10. [No person shall] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)

11. [No person shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)

12. In any trial in any court whatever the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person and with counsel as in civil actions.

(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)

13. Private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(1821, VII, 7; 1846, I, 6)



General Qualifications
Art. II, Sec. 1

The Electorate

Section 1. Every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a citizen for ninety days, and an inhabitant of this state one year next preceding an election, and for the last four months a resident of the county and for the last thirty days a resident of the election district in which he may offer his vote, shall be entitled to vote at such election in the election district of which he shall at the time be a resident, and not elsewhere, for all officers that now or hereafter may be elective by the people, and upon all questions which may be submitted to the vote of the people, provided that in time of war no elector in the actual military service of the state, or of the United States, in the army or navy thereof, shall be deprived of his vote by reason of his absence from such election district.

(1777, VII; 1821, II, 1; 1846, II, 1)

2. The legislature shall have power to provide the manner in which and the place at which such absent electors may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the election districts in which they respectively reside.

(1846, II, 1, added in 1874)

Art. II, Sec. 3

Art. II, Sec. 4

Persons Excluded from Right of Suffrage

Art. II, Sec. 2

General Provisions
Art. II, Sec. 5

Bi-partisan Election and Registration Boards

Art. II, Sec. 6

Section 2. For the purpose of voting, no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his presence or absence, while employed in the service of the United States; nor while engaged in the navigation of the waters of this state, or of the United States, or of the high seas; nor while a student of any seminary of learning; nor while kept at any almshouse, or other asylum, or institution wholly or partly supported at public expense, or by charity; nor while confined in any public prison.

(1846, II, 3)

Section 3. Registration shall be completed at least ten days before each election. Such registration shall not be required for town or village elections except by express provisions of law. In cities and villages having five thousand inhabitants or more, according to the last preceding state enumeration of inhabitants, voters shall be registered upon personal application only; but voters not residing in such cities or villages shall not be required to apply in person for registration at the first meeting of the officers having charge of the registry of voters.

Section 4. No person who shall receive, accept, or offer to receive, or pay, offer or promise to pay, contribute, offer or promise to contribute to another, to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at an election, or who shall make any promise to influence the giving or withholding any such vote, or who shall make or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of any election, shall vote at such election; and upon challenge for such cause, the person, so challenged, before the officers authorized for that purpose shall receive his vote, shall swear or affirm before such officers that he has not received or offered, does not expect to receive, has not paid, offered or promised to pay, contributed, offered or promised to contribute to another, to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at such election, and has not made or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of such election. [Persons convicted of bribery or of any infamous crime may be excluded from the right of suffrage in the manner provided in article IV, section 21, paragraph 2.]

(1846, II, 2, as amended, 1874)


Section 5. All elections by the citizens, except for such town officers as may by law be directed to be otherwise chosen, shall be by ballot, or by such other method as may be prescribed by law, provided that secrecy in voting be preserved.

(1777, VI; 1821, II, 4; 1846, II, 5)

Section 6. All laws creating, regulating or affecting boards of officers charged with the duty of registering voters, or of distributing ballots at the polls to voters, or of receiving, recording or counting votes at elections, shall secure equal representation of the two political parties which, at the general election next preceding that for which such boards or officers are to serve, cast the highest and the next highest number of votes. All such boards and officers shall be appointed or elected in such manner, and upon the nomina

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