By the closing years of the 1960s, the Virginia Constitution of 1902, explicitly created to limit the right of African Americans to vote and last revised in 1928, was clearly in need of revision. The rapid growth of urban and suburban centers in the commonwealth shifted the balance of power away from the long-dominant Byrd Organization and its limited-government philosophy, while new federal limits on voting rights restrictions and the demand for more and better public services signaled an opportunity to address evolving needs through a new constitution. In January 1968, Governor Mills Edwin Godwin Jr. proposed that the General Assembly revise the state’s constitution and submit a new document to the voters for ratification. Godwin appointed an eleven-member bipartisan commission to recommend revisions for the General Assembly to consider, and the commission delivered its 542-page report twelve months later. A special session of the General Assembly met from February 26 to April 25, 1969, to work through the commission’s proposals. It approved the main body of the constitution on April 25 and voted during the 1970 regular session to submit the constitution to the voters for ratification. On November 3, 1970, voters ratified the new constitution by a vote of 576,776 to 226,219. The new constitution was less than two-thirds the length of the Constitution of 1902, leaving more to the discretion of the General Assembly. The new document also omitted obsolete provisions, such as the poll tax, and enlarged Section 11 of the Bill of Rights. Among other changes, the Constitution of 1971 required approximate equality of population in all legislative and congressional districts; empowered the assembly to reform the state’s court system; guaranteed all children in the state the right to a high-quality public education; and added an article on conservation. Voters have subsequently ratified fifty-four amendments to the Constitution of 1971.