This was a referendum on whether to call a convention to consider seceding from the Union. A vote against the referendum was a vote to stay in the Union. While the bulk of the votes for the convention came from secessionists, some unionists voted for the convention. In the simultaneous election for delegates to the convention, 83 Union men were elected against 37 Secessionists. However, the convention never met because the referendum failed. Governor Ellis did not expect this result, so he called the legislature into session early to facilitate NC's secession.