Ballot initiative aims to make California three different states


While some speculate that a catastrophic earthquake along the San Andreas fault line could split California in half, a 2018 ballot initiative submitted by Tim Draper last Friday proposes to split the state into thirds.

Draper cites the size and diversity of California as reasons for the split. "[P]olitical representation of California's diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable," Draper writes in his initiative statement. "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."

If Draper's plan were implemented, California would be divided into three separate states: Northern California, California, and Southern California. State boundaries would be determined by existing county boundaries. "California" as we know it would consist of San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties on the coast. 40 counties would be delegated to Northern California, and Southern California would stretch from Mono, Madera and Fresno counties to the California-Mexico border.

California is the most populated U.S. state as well as the third largest by area. Over 200 attempts to divvy it up or secede from the union have been made since the state's inception in 1849. Among these was a 2014 proposal, also planned by Draper, to divide California into six states. The proposal did not garner enough signatures to come to a vote.

The "California Autonomy from Federal Government" initiative is also vying for the 2018 ballot. Supporters of this renewed attempt at California's secession are in the process of collecting over 600,000 signatures to bring the ballot measure to California voters. The measure wouldn't allow California to secede from the nation entirely, but would grant the state independence to become a "fully functioning sovereign and autonomous nation," as stated in the proposal, "whether within continued association with the United States of America or as an independent country, peacefully through negotiation with the federal government of the United States."