A proposed initiative by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper to split California into six separate states failed to gather enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot, the California Secretary of State's office said today.
The office said in a memo to local voter registrars and county clerks that "the petition has failed."
Former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, chairman of OneCalifornia, an opponent of the wild idea, welcomed the flop, saying the proposal "was a solution in search of a problem that didn’t address any of our state’s challenges."
A Secretary of State official explained that the would-be initiative needed 807,615 signatures or as many as 888,377 to qualify by random computer analysis of the endorsements.
Unfortunately for Draper and his Six Californias supporters, only 752,685 signatures of 1,137,844 turned in were projected to be valid.
To even ask for a full hand count, the proposal would have needed 767,235 projected-valid signatures, the official told us.
"We have heard from all the counties and the measure did fail," she said.
L.A. gave up 311,924 signatures in favor the idea, but only 191,606, or 61.4 percent, were valid, according to Secretary of State data.
The initiative would have asked voters to approve splitting California into six states as follows:
Organizers said the proposal was about creating governments "that are more representative and accountable."
But some accused Draper of simply wanting to keep the tax wealth of Silicon Valley, which would have been one of the states, closer to home.
It would have created massive inequities among our states and caused chaos in our state’s water, energy, higher education, transportation, and other systems. The implosion of this ballot measure spares us from a two-year campaign of bashing our great state, which continues to be the nation’s bastion of innovation, diversity, and progress.
We reached out to a Six Californias representative for the campaign's response but had yet to hear back.
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[Update at 2:27 p.m.]: Six Californias issued a statement saying it would conduct its own review of the signatures. The group says it turned in more than enough valid endorsements and blames the state's "dysfunction" and an "archaic" signature verification process for the initiative's failure to make the ballot.
Here's what Draper had to say. Enjoy:
Six Californias collected more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot and we are confident that a full check of the signatures would confirm that fact. Six Californias will conduct a review of the signatures determined to be invalid by the registrars in several counties to determine if they were in fact valid signatures. The internal verification process conducted by our signature-gathering firm predicted a much higher validity rate than the random sample result. It is unfortunate that the current, archaic, system has delayed this process. It is yet another example of the dysfunction of the current system and reinforces the need for six fresh, modern governments. In the meantime, we will work with the Secretary of State to verify all of the signatures gathered during the petition process.