A group calling for California’s secession from the US has submitted a proposal for a ballot measure on removing a piece of the state’s Constitution that describes it as an “inseparable” part of America. On Monday, the Yes California Independence Campaign proposed to include the matter on the ballot during the November 2018 gubernatorial elections across the US, where 39 state and territorial governorships as well as numerous other state and local elections would be contested. The request was filed with the attorney general’s office, asking it to “prepare a circulating title and summary of the enclosed ballot measure: “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019.”
The independence vote would be held sometime in the spring of 2019, provided that the group changes the California Constitution and then collects the number signatures required to put the measure on the 2018 gubernatorial ballot. The idea of a so-called “Calexit” was first brought up by the group more than two years ago but it only gained traction after Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory on November 8.
According to Marcus Ruiz Evans, the group’s vice president, the Yes California Independence Campaign has thousands of followers on various social media websites and some 13,000 people have volunteered to collect signatures. Evans said that Trump’s election showed that his organization was right in doubting the current electoral system’s ability to bring real change.
With a population of nearly 38.5 million people, California has 53 electoral votes, more than any US state. All of the state’s electoral votes went to Trump’s democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The final results of the presidential vote in the state would determine how many signature the group needs to place the matter on the ballot.
Evans said if 55 percent of the voters supported a referendum on the secession, the group would be able to take the matter to the United Nations according to the world body’s self-determination treaty. The majority support would amount to an internationally recognized threshold which in turn requires the state’s governor to ask the UN to recognize “the Republic of California” as a member. To change the Federal Constitution which does not allow secession, the group needs the approval of Congress and 38 states, experts say.