Now You Can Vote To Make Northern California Its Own State

A measure to split California into three states looks like it's heading to the ballot in November. But is it a good idea?

An initiative that’s received more than 600,000 signatures wants to split California into three different states. And it looks like you may be able to vote on it come November.

Cal 3 is a measure gaining steam in the state and is looking to localize the California government into regions in order to give people more voting power. The measure wants to split the state up in order to meet specific needs for each region, including education, infrastructure, taxes and identity.

Bay Area billionaire and venture capitalist Tim Draper is the man behind the measure, citing differences between each region in the vast state of California being too different to get any sweeping legislation supported. Basically, smaller is more efficient.

Here is a map of the proposed areas for Cal 3:

Draper has claimed to have collected over 600,000 signatures in support of the measure. That’s almost twice the amount of signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot in November.

This isn’t the first time an measure to break up the state has been presented to the people of California, but it does seem to have the most support. But even if Californians vote to split up the state, U.S. Congress would still have to approve it. There isn’t much bipartisan support in the Senate of adding four new Senators from the largely Democratic state.

In 1859, California voters approved a measure to split the state in two, but it was never passed in a deeply divided Congress during the Civil War era.

While splitting the state into smaller regions does seem to create a more localized government, it wouldn’t meet the needs of the conservative groups in the state who feel like their votes get stepped on by the liberal-leaning cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. For example, Conservative secession groups like the State of Jefferson would still be bunched into the state of Northern California, which would include the much more liberal voters of Sacramento and San Francisco.

As it stands today, Cal 3 wants to break up the state into three sections: Northern California, Southern California and California. Let’s take a look at the three areas:

Northern California

In the proposed measure, Northern California would stretch from Merced and Mariposa counties all the way to the Oregon border. This area would include a population of 13.3 million people with a median household income of $63,000, the highest of the three areas.

This state would be the most diverse among the three, with mostly conservative and lesser populated areas of Far NorCal being grouped together with the liberal techies of San Francisco.

(This proposed area is actually nearly the same definition of NorCal we have, with the exception of Mono County. Read it – Where Exactly is Northern California? The Final Debate).


California would be the six coastal counties from San Benito to Los Angeles. This small, coastal state would have the smallest population of the three states with 12.3 million people and would include cities like San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and, of course, the mighty city of Los Angeles.

This state, much like the state of New York, would be dominated by its main city, Los Angeles, which would account for approximately 30% of its entire population. In fact, instead of calling this state California, they might as well just name it the State of Hollywood.

Southern California

Southern California would begin south of Northern California and would run to the Mexico border, excluding the western coastal region of the new “California.” Much of this area is known as the central valley farmland, but would also include the Los Angeles area counties of Orange, Riverside and San Bernadino.

This state would have the largest population with 13.9 million people, and would include some California’s most popular outdoor areas of Mammoth and Yosemite.

What do you think? Should California should split into three different states?

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California
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