Backers of the "Calexit" movement, seeking California's secession from the United States, got the news they were hoping for from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
According to the Secretary of State's Office's official announcement, the legal title for the Calexit ballot initiative has been completed, and backers can now begin circulating petitions to get it on the 2018 statewide ballot. They have 180 days to collect the necessary 585,407 valid voter signatures—equal to 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 election.
The ballot measure's description reads as follows (original emphasis):
CALIFORNIA NATIONHOOD. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Repeals provision in California Constitution stating California is an inseparable part of the United States and that the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Places question of whether California should become a separate country on a future ballot. Treats result of such future vote as declaration of independence from the United States if 50 percent of registered voters participate and 55 percent of those voting approve. Requires Governor to request California admission to the United Nations if voters approve independence. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The fiscal impact of this measure is dependent on various factors, including a vote by the people on this measure, a subsequent vote on California independence, possible legal challenges and implementation issues. Assuming that California actually became an independent nation, the state and its local governments would experience major, but unknown, budgetary impacts. This measure also would result in tens of millions of dollars of one-time state and local election costs.
The Calexit movement emerged within days of the President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election victory. The president lost California by nearly 4.3 million votes. Recent polling by Reuters suggests at least 30 percent of Californians support secession.
The deadline to collect signatures for the ballot initiative is July 25. Even if the ballot measure succeeds in November 2018, a second statewide vote would have to take place in March 2019, before California could declare its independence.
Any effort by California to leave the U.S. will also likely require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow for secession of the states. Such a measure would require two-thirds votes in both chambers of Congress as well as ratification votes by three-fourths of the states.
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