Calexit gets go-ahead to start collecting signatures

Advocates who want California to secede from the rest of the United States were given the green light Monday to begin collecting signatures for their initiative.

California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the ballot proposal had been cleared.

The latest measure would ask voters in 2020 to decide whether to open up a secession discussion. If passed, a second election would be held a year later asking voters to affirm the decision and become an independent country.

Advocates have until mid-October to gather 365,880 signatures of registered voters to get it on the ballot.

Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis J. Marinelli, co-founders of the group Yes California, said the second vote would show that Californians are serious about secession and would strengthen the case for foreign governments to recognize the state’s independence.

“We realize it may seem like a long time to wait,” Marinelli told The Times of San Diego. “But we need time to have a serious dialogue with the people of California about why they should support the independence referendum by voting yes. The voters need to make an informed decision when they go to the polls to determine California’s political future.”

Evans told CNBC that while his group is progressive, they do embrace some conservative ideals.

"Calexit is left — we are progressive, and that's why we don't like Trump," Evans said. "But there are some very hardcore Republican concepts to Calexit, including the group saying don't waste our tax money."

'Calexit is left - we are progressive, and that's why we don't like Trump.'

— Marcus Ruiz Evans, co-founder of Yes California

Evans says his group's membership has grown four times its size since President Trump took office. There are about 44,000 current members.

There have been multiple efforts in the past for California to break away from the rest of America. They have either been withdrawn or failed to gather the signatures required to advance.

As the Yes California group gears up, another initiative to break up California into three separate states is also taking shape. That plan, backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper, would create a northern California state with San Francisco at its core, another state near Los Angeles and a third that covers the Central Valley as well as San Diego.

And if that were not enough, there’s yet another proposal in play known as “New California” that would cut out rural counties and make them into individual states.

The founders of New California describe the rest of California as “ungovernable.”

“The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny,” the group declared in an online statement.