High Court Kicks Silicon Valley Investor’s Plan to Split Up California Off Ballot

The court on determined that there “significant questions” about the proposition’s validity.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper points to a computer screen at his offices in San Mateo, Calif., showing that an initiative to split California into three states qualified for the ballot.Haven Daley/AP

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California voters will no longer have the option to vote on splitting the largest state in the nation into three separate states this November.

On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court removed the Cal 3 initiative from the fall ballot, concluding in an order that the “the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election,” the Los Angeles Times reported

The high court’s decision is a blow to venture capitalist and Theranos investor Tim Draper, who unsuccessfully tried to put a similar initiative on the ballot to split the state into six states in 2014. The Silicon Valley investor, who hired the consulting firm behind the Brexit movement to drum up voter support for his initiative, has said he believes California is currently too big to be governed efficiently. As my colleague Matt Tinoco pointed out in June:

If it passes, Draper’s initiative would instruct the state legislature to begin a likely lengthy and messy process to create three new states of roughly equal population: Northern California, Southern California, and California. Making this official would require ultimately require Congressional approval.

Last week, the Planning and Conservation League, a Sacramento-based environmental group, petitioned the court to block the proposal, known on the ballot as Proposition 9, arguing in court that the proposal “fundamentally conflicts with the Constitution and proposes instead to disregard and abolish California’s current governmental structure,” the Times reported. The court on Wednesday determined that “significant questions” had been raised “regarding the proposition’s validity.” The court plans to review the constitutionality of the initiative at a later date, the Times reported. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter to applaud the court’s decision. 


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