Bold California Initiative to Split State in Three Faces Hurdles

SACRAMENTO, Calif (AP) -

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.