Californians will vote on breaking state into three parts

California voters will get a chance in November to decide whether to split one of the nation’s largest states into three.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, the main proponent of dividing the Golden State, gathered 402,000 signatures to put the measure on this year’s ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“This is a chance for three fresh approaches to government,” Draper said in an April interview, just before he filed the signatures with the state.

“Three new states could become models not only for the rest of the country, but for the whole world.”

The measure, known as the Cal 3 initiative, would divide the state into three parts: one called Northern California, sprawling from Oregon down to San Francisco, another called California, that would primarily include Los Angeles and land on the coast and the last one dubbed Southern California, that would be made up of San Diego, Fresno and Bakersfield.

California is the third largest state land area, after Alaska and Texas. It is by far the largest by population, with more than 39 million residents.

This isn’t Draper’s first foray into breaking up California.

In 2014, he spent $5.2 million on an ultimately unsuccessful effort to divide the state in six. He admitted that plan was too drastic, but thinks his new one will be more palatable.

“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”

But opposition is already mounting to the plan.

Former Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabien Núñez is leading NoCABreakup to battle the split-state proposal.

“California government can do a better job addressing the real issues facing the state, but this measure is a massive distraction that will cause political chaos and greater inequality,” said Steven Maviglio, a spokesman for the OneCalifornia committee opposing Cal 3.

Even if the initiative passes, both houses of the California legislature would have to approve it before it’s submitted to Congress.

The last time a state divided itself was in 1863, when West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War.

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