A bizarre and controversial plan to split California into three states has qualified for the November ballot, and if approved by the voters would begin the process to permanently change the U.S. Congress.
Here’s what happened
The proposition is supported by billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, who believes that the state has become too large to properly serve its citizens, and argues that the rest of the country should encourage the effort.
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” he explained. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
The initiative depends on Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, where the document sets the conditions under which a state can split itself up.
The plan calls for three states to be created: Northern California, California and Southern California. It would divide the population of the state roughly into even parts.
What if it wins in November?
If the plan was approved by the voters, it would need to be approved by both houses of the California Legislature, an unlikely prospect.
The plan would also need approval in the U.S. Congress, but would likely meet stiff opposition there as well because it would increase the number of senators, and take away the advantage that Democrats have by being able to reliably claim all of California’s electoral votes.
The voters will be able to vote on the initiative in California on Nov. 6.
If the unlikely plan is successful, it would be the first time an existing U.S. state split since West Virginia was created in 1863.