A new California independence campaign has got the go ahead to collect signatures for its 2018 ‘Calexit’ ballot initiative.
The state attorney general issued an official ballot measure title and summary, Tuesday.
California Freedom Coalition can now start gathering the more than 585,000 signatures needed to qualify for the 2018 ballot.
This is the second official bid to make California an independent nation in the wake of Trump’s election victory last November.
Previous efforts by ‘Yes California’ ended in April after reports of Calexit affiliations with Russia undermined the campaign.
The movement, which received state authorization to begin collecting signatures last year, opened an embassy in Moscow in December. It’s leader, Louis J. Marinell, specifically came under the spotlight for his connections to Russia.
Separatist group California Freedom Coalition launched the same month with the support of Yes California’s former Vice President Marcus Ruiz Evans.
The initiative is adopting a more gradual approach and describes itself as a “100 percent California-based” grassroots organization, independent of other Calexit groups.
California Freedom Coalition board member Steve Gonzales told LA Weekly in May that the proposal, if adopted, would offer lawmakers two other options aside from full secession.
These would include reform of voting rights and districts; and the option to keep California as a quasi-independent state within the union where decisions at the federal level would have little impact on the lives of Californians.
The road to secession would first start with the formation of a commission to advise on avenues of pursuing independence. The measure would also instruct the governor and California congressional delegation to negotiate more autonomy for the state in any journey towards independence.
The number of Californians who would rather see their state a sovereign nation than part of the United States has jumped to 32 percent, a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed. In 2014, it was only 20 percent.
The support for independence in the Golden State also by far surpasses the national average, which stood at 22 percent, down 2 percentage points from the level in 2014.
The poll was taken from December 6 to January 16 and has a credibility interval of 5 percentage points in California.
The support for independence apparently rose in the wake of Donald Trump’s election in the November presidential election. California voted overwhelmingly for his rival Hillary Clinton, who scored almost 62 percent of votes compared to Trump’s less-than-32 percent.
During the latest wave of anti-Trump protests in the US an estimated 1.2 million people took to the streets in California.The gap was historically fourth-biggest in the state and translates into a 4.3 million difference in votes. Californians’ preference of the Democratic candidate was a major factor behind her winning the popular vote.
With 39 million residents and the sixth-largest economy in the world, California could theoretically do well as a sovereign state. But in practice breaking away would be a political, legal and potentially military challenge for the state.
But a secessionist group called ‘Yes California’ is hopeful that it can be reached. Last week it filed a petition with the state attorney general’s office, asking to prepare a referendum on ‘Calexit’, or California exit from the US.
“In the Spring of 2019, Californians will go to the polls in a historic vote to decide by referendum if California should exit the Union, a #Calexit vote,” the group said on its website.
The idea must first win support via the November 2018 ballot. Under the group’s proposal, the state would go independent if 50 percent of voters cast ballots and at least 55 percent of them support Calexit.