Proposal to split California into three states earns spot on ballot

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"The citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities, and towns", Draper wrote to the Attorney General's office when explaining his proposal.

A plan to divide California into three separate states will be put to voters in November's mid-term elections after securing enough signatures to be put on the ballot. "I think that a proposal such as Mr. Draper's may constitute an attempt to create a "revision" to rather than an "amendment" of California's Constitution, which would require a more involved process than the simple gathering of signatures and placement on the ballot Mr. Draper is pursuing", Amar said in a blog post last August. California voters already approved breaking up the state in 1859, but Congress did not act on it. Then it would reach the US Congress.

If the unlikely plan is successful, it would be the first time an existing USA state split since West Virginia was created in 1863. West Virginia was formed by seceding from a Confederate state over differences around slavery.

Voters will now have to decide whether they approve of the measure to divide California into California, Northern California, and Southern California. Supporters of the initiative argue the state isn't fairly represented with senators in Washington. Though California's prisoners come from all over the state, more than half are now held in what would become Southern California. Opponents are anxious how the state's vast resources would be divided were the state to break apart and say the proposal would harm poor regions while demarcating rich areas that generate most of California's current tax revenue.

In 2014, Draper failed with a similar proposal: To split the Golden State into six smaller governments. "California government can do a better job addressing the real issues facing the state, but this measure is a massive distraction that will cause political chaos and greater inequality".

Even still, the proposal is as radical as it is unlikely to pass.

Proposal to split California into three states earns spot on ballot
Proposal to split California into three states earns spot on ballot

"These three states", Draper told the Mercury News last month, "create hope and opportunity for Californians".

California gets 55 electors in the Electoral College - a powerful number that has been a huge unmovable bloc for the Democratic candidate.

The CAL 3 proposal would split California into three new states: Northern California, California and Southern California.

Southern California: San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Mono, Madera, Inyo, Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Kern and Imperial counties. It would also include population centers like much of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and everything north.

"While this measure anticipates action to divide California's debts and secure congressional approval within two years after voter approval, it would be hard for this timeline to be put into practice", the state report concluded.

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