Six Californias may be on the 2016 ballot

Thanks to an aggressive campaign to collect signatures, a measure to split California into six distinct states may make it on to the 2016 ballot. If at least 800,000 of the 1.3 million signatures are valid, then it would be more than enough to ensure voters would see this on the 2016 ballot.

The Six Californias group announced the result Tuesday in a media conference in Sacramento, as well as on their Twitter page. The next step in their campaign will be having the signatures verified by the California Secretary of State.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper is taking point on this campaign. He has invested $5 million of his own dollars in to the campaign in an effort to get this in front of voters. The need to get this in front of voters comes from the fact that splitting the state will require a Constitutional Amendment. 

Even though a lot of people have signed their support for this campaign, it still has a steep uphill battle to become a reality. At this point the latest Field Poll shows that 59 percent of voters in California oppose splitting the state.

“I’ll be voting against that ballot initiative in California. One of the great things about having a state like ours, is it’s so diverse in people, different industries and economies. I think together we’re the sum of the parts is so more than breaking up the state,” U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange County) said.

NBC Bay Area Political consultant Larry Gerston also sees a lot of the obstacles a potential split could solve. One of which is how Six Californias would deal with the water sharing issues that plague the state. Other issues like prison locations, state university tuition costs, and possibly the biggest hurdle being whether or not the federal government would allow a plan that would give the area 12 Senators.

Here is how the proposal would divide the state:

  • Northern, rural California would become the State of Jefferson
  • Area from Wine Country and Sacramento to Lake Tahoe would become North California
  • The State of Silicon Valley would run from San Francisco to Santa Clara County
  • Much of the state’s Central Valley would become Central California
  • The Los Angeles County basin would be called West California
  • The area from San Diego to the desert in the east would become South California

“Even if it only qualifies for the ballot, it still speaks volumes,” Gerston said.

[NBC Bay Area]