Initiative to Split Up California Qualifies for November Ballot

Pauline Gross
June 14, 2018

A proposal to split California into three separate states got enough votes on Tuesday to be added to the midterm ballot in November.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper's initiative needed 365,880 validated signatures to qualify. President Donald Trump's victory in 2016 led to a ballot movement to have California secede from the U.S. That effort failed to gain enough signatures last year but was started again this year, CNBC reported.

Los Angeles County would anchor the six counties that retained the name California under the longshot proposal, a state that would extend northward along the coast to Monterey County. The newly proposed Southern California includes traditionally Republican areas such as Orange County. "Splitting California into three new states will triple the amount of special interests, lobbyists, politicians and bureaucracy".

Draper has said that partitioning California into three states would allow regional communities to make better and more sensible decisions for their citizens to address the state's most pressing issues, including the school systems, high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and strained government. "How are you going to tell a family that lives in Los Angeles they have to pay out of state tuition to go to Berkeley?". And while California now has two USA senators, the new bloc of three Californias would have six under the new proposal. He's since updated it to include Tulare County as part of Southern California.

Graphic of the State of California shows the divisions of a proposed initiative to split the state into three states
Graphic of the State of California shows the divisions of a proposed initiative to split the state into three states

Last October, the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) released a review of Draper's plan.

In California, the reasons for such an ongoing inner conflict stem most obviously from the state's geographic and demographic diversity and the unique identities of different regions. Even if it wins passage from voters, the measure would face significant hurdles.

If a majority of California voters that cast ballots agree to divide the state into three, the plan would need approval from both houses of the California Legislation.

The only solution, he maintains, is smaller governments better equipped to respond to residents' specific needs depending on the region of California where they live. His first proposal, in 2014 suggested the state breaking into six, not three, but this was rejected.

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