"Division Of California IntoThree States" measure heads to November ballot

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It has now received more than 402,468 valid signatures, passing the threshold required by state law, CNN reported.

The state got closest to dividing itself in 1859, when the state legislature and voters overwhelmingly approved a new "Territory of Colorado" to split southern California from the north.

Amid worries of a recession, Statham gained the support of then-Speaker Willie Brown to put a non-binding question on ballots across the state: Should California divide into three states?

Meanwhile, Northern California, which would be the richest of the three with a per capita income of around $63,000, would include the Bay Area and the 31 remaining counties north of Sacramento, the current state capital.

Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Tulare counties.

If it were to pass, San Luis Obispo County and the rest of the Central Coast would retain the name California under the proposal, which would also include Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Benito and Ventura counties. In the unlikely event the measure is approved, the change would be the first division of an existing US state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863. West Virginia was formed by seceding from a Confederate state over differences around slavery.

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California gets 55 electors in the Electoral College - a powerful number that has been a huge unmovable bloc for the Democratic candidate. Each state, though different in size, would have roughly the same population, according to the proposal. Three smaller states would change that equation, which could make a lot of Democrats just as nervous as the idea of four new senators would make Republicans nervous.

But there's many reasons to be skeptical that voters will choose to split the state.

A California split is a long shot, to say the least.

This will not be the first time such a ballot would take place.

"Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes", said Tim Draper, a technology mogul behind the measure.