September 29, 2020 - 9:00 pm
Question 3 would make a series of changes to the State Board of Pardons Commissioners. That board comprises the governor, attorney general and state Supreme Court justices. A majority of the board, including the governor, must approve a pardon. In contrast, the federal Constitution allows the president alone to issue a pardon.
This constitutional amendment would require the board to meet four times a year. There is currently no constitutional mandate on how often the board meets, but state law requires it to convene twice a year. It would also remove the governor’s veto power over pardons.
None of these changes merits a constitutional change. If more frequent meetings are needed, the Legislature may require it. Giving the governor a veto over pardons is itself a meaningful check on the board’s power. Vote no on Question 3.