Six Californias appears to have submitted enough signatures to get on the 2016 ballot

Supporters of an initiative to divide California into six states say they submitted 1.3 million signatures in counties across the state Tuesday.

The petition needed approximately 808,000 signatures of registered California voters to qualify for the November 2016 statewide ballot. The Secretary of State will determine whether there are enough valid signatures.

“Six Californias gives us an opportunity to reboot and refresh our state government,” said Timothy Draper, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist behind the effort.

Under the proposal, West California would consist of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. South California would include Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino and Imperial counties. Other states would be Jefferson (consisting of the northernmost counties), Silicon Valley, Central California and North California.

The initiative faces major obstacles, including a skeptical public and political questions. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a Field Poll in February found 59 percent of Californians opposed the idea. U.S. Congress would need to approve the new states, and most observers say that is highly unlikely.

The proposal allows a county along one of the proposed new state borders to join an adjacent state instead, subject to the approval of both that county’s voters (via a country ballot measure) and its Boards of Supervisors by November 15, 2017.

A board of 24 commissioners would also be appointed to negotiate how to divide California’s existing assets and liabilities among the new states. The initiative also explicitly states that the Governor of California will be required to submit the state-splitting proposal to Congress by January 1, 2018.

In addition, California’s charter counties would be allowed more power over municipal affairs that currently may be controlled by city governments. This change is meant for the interim period between the passing of the initiative and congressional approval of the new states, but will remain in place even if Congress eventually does not pass the state-splitting proposal.

In final section of the initiative, “the official proponent of the initiative” (Draper) is appointed as an “Agent of the State of California” for the purpose of defending the proposal against legal challenges.

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