A plan that would split the state of California into three separate states has qualified for the November 6 ballot.
If approved by a majority of voters, it would be the first division of an existing U.S. state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863 through Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.
The biggest state in America, California has become increasingly divided among people living in cities and those not in cities, among Democrats and Republicans, and has suffered a low high school graduation rate, and high rate of homelessness in recent years.
Under the plan, one state would be called Northern California and include San Francisco and Sacramento. Keeping the name California would be a portion of the current state on the West Coast and would include Los Angeles and have a northern border around Monterey. Southern California, the third area, would include San Diego, Fresno, and Bakersfield.
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who sponsored the ballot measure, told The Los Angeles Times.
“States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
My full story now online: Decades of debate and discussion over splitting California into separate states… now a proposal to do so earns a spot on the November ballot. https://t.co/ZfEGU3jrUW pic.twitter.com/1QMAtUXwIq
— John Myers (@johnmyers) June 13, 2018
According to the Cal 3 website, which details the plan, the population of the three new states would be about equal, with SoCal having 13.9 million people and leading industries including agriculture and manufacturing; NoCal having 13.3 million people and having leading industries including tourism and forestry; and California having 12.3 million people and having leading industries that include high tech manufacturing and motion pictures.
More than 400,000 people signed to get the plan onto the ballot.
Hundreds of attempts to reconfigure California, including having it secede from the United States, have been bandied about since it was admitted into the Union in 1850 but none have succeeded.
Draper has spent millions of dollars on the plan, reported the Los Angeles Times. Registered as an unaffiliated voter, the 60-year-old entrepreneur is known as an early adopter of “viral marketing” in the ’90s and invested early in technology companies such as Skype and Hotmail.