1 State or 3? Californians Will Decide

Tim Draper's effort to split the state will appear on November ballot
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2018 9:10 AM CDT
1 State or 3? Californians Will Decide
The California state flag flies in the midst of a wildfire near Potrero, Calif., on June 20, 2016.   (Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

Every effort to split the state of California, and there have been several, has ultimately failed. But a new one led by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper has already gotten farther than most. Draper's plan to split California into three separate states of roughly equal population—Northern California, from the Bay Area north to Oregon; California, a coastal strip including Los Angeles; and Southern California, stretching north to Fresno and south to San Diego—has received 420,000 valid signatures of support, enough for the issue to qualify for the November ballot, per the Hill. "This is really happening," the San Jose Mercury News puts it following Tuesday's confirmation from California's Secretary of State's Office. But it won't be easy getting Californians on board.

Not only did Draper previously launch a failed proposal to split California into six, but an April poll showed 72% of registered state voters oppose his new plan. "We need to empower our population to improve their government" because it's "rotted," Draper tells the Mercury News. He says his plan would fix high taxes, crumbling infrastructure, and overcrowded prisons, and describes the opposition as "Sacramento insiders who want to hold on to their power." But even with public support, Draper's effort would need to pass the California Legislature and Congress. And as shifts in Electoral College votes could see one of the three proposed states won by a Republican, per the Los Angeles Times, Democrats will be hard to convince. (Perhaps New California will work out.)

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