A proposal to split California into six states has gained enough signatures to earn a place on the November 2016 ballot, supporters said Tuesday.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper, the main backer of the proposal, delivered more than 44,000 signatures to the Sacramento County registrar of voters on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
A spokesperson for the campaign told Reuters the group had way more than the required 808,000 signatures to force the proposal to a public referendum in 2016.
Currently, the population of California is 38.04 million, which is nearly 4 million more than the entire population of Canada. Draper thinks that’s just way too many people for one government to adequately take care of. If his proposal were to pass, each of the new states would have its own elected officials.
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"We've got all of these constituents, 38 million of us, all trying to talk to the same state," Draper said during a news conference outside the registrar's office on Tuesday. "They're hearing noise coming from all different sides. There is not a concentrated effort to get jobs into the Central Valley because there are so many other issues around all of these different people."
Draper’s plan would divide the state into six, with populations ranging from just under a million to over 11.5 million. Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego would all be in different states.
Critics of the plan argue that Draper’s divisions separate the wealthiest Californians from the poorest. They’re not wrong. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Silicon Valley would become the country’s richest state. Central California, a state Draper decided would include over 4 million people, would become America’s poorest state.
The county registrars now have eight days to conduct a preliminary signature check. If Draper has enough valid signatures, the proposal will make the 2016 ballot. But even if the ballot question passed, only Congress can admit more states into the Union.