SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A ballot initiative that would have asked voters to split California into six separate states failed to qualify for the ballot in 2016, the secretary of state's office reported Friday.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper submitted 1.37 million signatures in July in support of the measure, saying the state of 38.3 million people has become ungovernable because it has too many diverse interests for politicians to effectively represent their constituents.
A random sampling of ballot initiative signatures from all 58 counties found that just 66 percent were projected to be valid, and that it would fall more than 500,000 signatures short of the number needed to make the ballot.
Draper sought to split California into six states called Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, Central California, West California and South California. The regions would vary greatly in size, demographics and incomes.
Draper, who has put more than $5 million into the effort so far, said in a statement Friday that he believed enough signatures were valid and that a full review would prove that.
"Six Californias will conduct a review of the signatures determined to be invalid," he said. "The internal verification process conducted by our signature-gathering firm predicted a much higher validity rate than the random sample result."
Critics say Draper's plan would separate the wealthiest and poorest Californians, potentially creating some of the poorest states in the nation. Former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Democrat, was heading a campaign opposing the measure.
Six Californias "would have created massive inequities among our states and caused chaos in our state's water, energy, higher education, transportation, and other systems," he said in a written statement.
He said he was relieved that Californians will not have to endure a 2-year campaign of California bashing.
New states would face a number of issues, including whether to grant in-state tuition rates for university systems that would now be out-of-state for some students; how to fund billions of dollars in state public employee pension plans; and devising ways to divvy up crucial resources such as water, much of which is shipped south from Northern California.
Draper, a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned nonpartisan, made his fortune through investments that include Skype and Hotmail and is the founder of Draper University of Heroes, a San Mateo-based program focused on entrepreneurship.
His effort is not linked to a separate movement that would allow two northern counties to split from the state to form a 51st state — Jefferson. Representatives of Modoc and Siskiyou counties delivered petitions last month asking the state Legislature to vote on the proposal.
Associated Press writer Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.
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