What is the process for amending our Constitution? Where would amendments originate? How are they approved?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This answer is based on the assumption that you are asking about the United States Constitution.

There are two ways that amendments to the Constitution can be proposed.  One way is to call a convention that would propose amendments.  Two-thirds of the states would have to ask Congress to call such a convention.  The convention would then propose whatever amendments it wanted.  This method has never been used.  The other method is to have Congress propose the amendment(s).  A member of Congress proposes an amendment.  If two-thirds of each house of Congress approves, the amendment then goes to the states to be ratified.  So, all of the amendments to the Constitution so far have originated in Congress.  Anyone may suggest an amendment, but only a member of Congress can actually officially submit one for consideration.

There are also two ways in which an amendment can be approved.  Again, one method is used much more often than the other.  It is possible for every state to call a convention to vote on whether to ratify an amendment.  If three-fourths of the conventions vote to ratify, the amendment is approved.  This method has only been used once.  The method that has been used for all the other amendments is to have the state legislatures vote on the proposed amendment.  Again, if three-fourths of the states vote to approve, the amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution.  There is no provision for a popular vote on constitutional amendments.