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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:00 am

Californians to vote on splitting

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Californians will face a choice this November of whether to divide the nation's most populous state into three, an effort that would radically shake up not only the West Coast, but the entire nation.

The “Cal 3” initiative is driven by venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has tried and failed in the past to place an effort to break up California on the ballot, including a bid in 2016 to create six separate states. Backers of the measure argue California has become “ungovernable” because of its economic and geographic diversity as well as its population approaching 40 million people.

Election officials say this year's effort gathered the roughly 365,000 signatures it needed to land on the general election ballot. It will be officially certified later this month. Even if it wins passage from voters, the measure would face significant hurdles.

California would break into three states – Northern California, California and Southern California. The measure aims to create states with relatively equal populations and economic strengths.

The new Northern California would include 40 counties, including Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco as well as the state's wine country and rural northern areas.

Keeping the name California would be a group of six counties centered around Los Angeles, with a total population of 12.3 million people.

Southern California, meanwhile, would include Orange and San Diego Counties as well what's now known as California's Central Valley and Inland Empire.

It's not just California that would feel the effects of such a change.

Turning one state into three would create four new U.S. senators, a move that would significantly boost Californians' influence in Washington. Three separate Californias would also shake up the Electoral College.