Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper has been trying for years to give California voters the opportunity to vote on splitting the state up in an effort to better represent its regions. He announced on Thursday that he now has enough signatures for the initiative to be added to the November ballot for citizens to decide.
After failed attempts for similar ballot initiatives in 2014 and 2016, Draper has amassed roughly 600,000 signatures for his petition to divide California into three separate states — 585,000 was the required number of signatures needed to make it onto the ballot. The signatures are expected to be filed with the office of Secretary of State Alex Padilla next week.
Draper said, "This is an unprecedented show of support on behalf of every corner of California to create three state governments that emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity." He says his plan would "diminish the power of teachers' unions and politicians in Sacramento," according to Reuters.
The current plan — known as "CAL 3" — would require congressional approval, and if passed, would split the state into the regions of "California," "Northern California," and "Southern California." Citizens of the respective new states would be able to change the names if they so choose.
But the plan has been met with opposition, with Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio calling the effort a "colossal waste of resources, energy and time." He said: "Dividing the state into three random slices doesn't fix any of our state's problems." Maviglio told City News Service that CAL 3 would do nothing but triple the state's challenges.
A separate plan dividing California into two states was proposed earlier this year by "New California" co-founders Robert Preston and Tom Reed. The two were motivated to launch their initiative because they believe that the state's high taxes have made it "ungovernable."
CAL 3 is not part of any secession efforts which have also been proposed by California citizens in recent years.