It looks like Californians won’t be voting on whether to split their state into three.
The California Supreme Court shot down the controversial initiative from appearing on the November ballot in a unanimous decision, writing that “significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity.”
Proposition 9 would’ve asked voters whether California should separate into three states: California, Northern California and Southern California. It would’ve been subject to approval by US Congress. The initiative had gained enough signatures in June to qualify for the ballot on November 6.
“We conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election,” the justices wrote.
The court directed the Secretary of State of California, Alex Padilla to refrain placing Proposition 9 on the upcoming ballot.
An environmental group, the Planning and Conservation League had filed the suit to remove the “3 Californias” proposition from the ballot last week.
The proposal to break California up is backed by Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, in a campaign called “Cal 3.” He had said that splitting California up would allow regional communities to make better and more sensible decisions for their citizens to address the state’s most pressing issues, including the school systems, high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and strained government.
Draper criticized the court’s decision on social media on Wednesday: “Apparently, the insiders are in cahoots and the establishment doesn’t want to find out how many people don’t like the way California is being governed. They are afraid to know the answer as to whether we need a fresh start here in California.”
“Whether you agree or not with this initiative, this is not the way democracies are supposed to work. This kind of corruption is what happens in third world countries.”
This isn’t the first time that Draper attempted to get an initiative to break apart the most populous state. He backed a proposal to turn California into six states in 2014 but it failed to get the required number of signatures to qualify and the measure was not presented to voters.
But critics have slammed the partition effort as a distraction and say that breaking up the state would cost billions of tax dollars.
Under the proposal, each state would have had about 12.3 million to 13.9 million people.
California- This would include six counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties.
Southern California- This would include 12 counties: San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Mono, Madera, Inyo, Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Kern and Imperial counties.
Northern California- This would include 40 counties including the San Francisco Bay Area and the remaining counties north of Sacramento.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.