UPDATE: On July 18, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled this proposal unconstitutional and therefore it will not appear on the November ballot.
Over the course of California’s 168-year history, there have been 200 attempts to reconfigure its boundaries or secede from the union. Last month, another — a plan by venture capitalist Tim Draper to split California into three states — garnered enough signatures to appear on the November 6 ballot. This isn’t Draper’s first attempt, either, and he feels this three-state proposal is more economically sustainable than his last two six-state proposals. Draper contends that vast regions of California currently are not represented by elected representatives, and splitting the state into three would enable representatives to better serve local interests.
If successful, it would be the first split of an existing state since 1863 when West Virginia split from Virginia. It won’t be easy, though. It could be shot down in court, as it would necessarily revise the California constitution, which must be done by the Legislature or a constitutional convention, or either house of the California Legislature could reject it outright before it reaches the court. It would also need the approval of Congress, which is unlikely since California has been historically a Democratic state and the specifics of Draper’s plan are probably beneficial to Republicans, as one of the three proposed states is predominantly Republican. This is all assuming it gets the popular vote, by no means a given. We won’t even go into the logistics of the matter.