California’s 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the Continent’s edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling East across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year, as a controversial Plan to Split the Golden State into Three New Jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6th Ballot.
If a majority of Voters who cast Ballots agree, a long and contentious Process would begin for Three Separate States to take the place in California:
It would be the first Division of an existing U.S. State since the creation of West Virginia in 1863.
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist who sponsored the Ballot Measure, said last Summer when he formally submitted the Proposal. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
The Proposal aims to invoke Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the Provision guiding how an Existing State can be Divided into New States.
- Northern California would consist of 40 Counties stretching from Oregon South to Santa Cruz County, then East to Merced and Mariposa Counties.
- Southern California would begin with Madera County in the Central Valley and then wind its way along the existing State’s Eastern and Southern spine, comprising 12 Counties and ultimately curving up the Pacific Coast to grab San Diego and Orange Counties.
- Los Angeles County would anchor the Six Counties that retained the name California, a State that would extend northward along the Coast to Monterey County.
Draper’s Campaign website argues the Three States would have reasonably similar Household Incomes and enough Industries to produce their own Viable Economies.
Completion of the radical plan, far from certain, given its many hurdles at Judicial, State, and Federal levels, would make history.
There is a sizable Debate about whether such a sweeping change can be created through a Ballot Initiative, whether it rises to the level of a “Revision” of the California Constitution, which can only be started by the Legislature or by a Formal Constitutional Convention.
Revisions are generally seen by the Courts as the most substantial kinds of Changes to a Government.
Where California now has Two Seats in the 100-person U.S. Senate, the Three States would have Six Seats in a 104-Member Chamber. That would dilute the Power of other States and Increase the Power of what used to be a Single State if its Six Senators banded together on various issues.
Vikram Amar, a Law Professor who has written extensively about Draper’s Plans, pointed out last fall that the shift in California’s Votes in the Electoral College, which have been Awarded for a Quarter-Century to Democratic Nominees, would be Split between three states. And one of those States, based on past Election results, could be won by a Republican.
“What is of greater importance to a state than its geographic boundaries?” Amar wrote. “As the national debate about a wall along the Mexican border rages, we are reminded that even in a digital age, physical space and physical lines matter immensely to the course of peoples’ lives, and the legal regimes under which they live.”
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker