Why Do Texans Vote On So Many Constitutional Amendments?

Nov 27, 2017

The Texas Constitution of 1876.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Texans went to the polls earlier this month to approve seven different constitutional amendments, many of which might have seemed to the casual voter like something that could easily have been dealt with by the State Legislature.

If you were wondering why you needed to go vote on whether sports teams should be allowed to hold charitable raffles, you weren’t alone.

The Texas Tribune this week published an explanation on why Texans  have to vote on so many constitutional amendments. The answer lies in the fact that, in Texas, the powers of the State Legislature are heavily restricted. That is, the Governor and other lawmakers are only allowed to perform narrow duties strictly delineated by the state constitution.

The constitution in question is actually the fourth such document Texas created; the current constitution was ratified in 1876. Since then, Texans have approved almost 500 proposed amendments.