LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. billionaire investor Tim Draper got an approval to start a petition drive since Friday for a ballot of next November to divide the northwestern state of California into three states.
According to regulations of California, after Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla announced the proponent of the initiative was cleared to begin collecting petition signatures, Draper has 180 days to collect more than 585,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.
That means Draper must submitted all signatures supporting his new "Three States Plan" to county elections officials no later than Apr. 23 of 2018. In 2014, he spent more than five million U.S. dollars on an effort to qualify a ballot measure asking voters to divide California into six states but failed.
Under the billionaire's new proposal, California, the largest U.S. state by population and the third largest by area, would be divided into three states, namely Northern California, Southern California and a "New California," each has around 12 to 13 million population.
Draper explained why he insisted to propose divide California into three small states in August, saying the "political representation of California's diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable."
"The citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities and towns," Draper said.
Draper's proposal would keep the three new states in the U.S., unlike several "Calexit" measures aiming at moving California toward independence.
A much-publicized Reuters poll in January and a UC Berkeley IGS Poll in March suggested as many as one-third of Californians preferred the state to become an independent nation.