SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Riding a wave of publicity following the unexpected election of Donald Trump earlier this month, a group pushing for California to secede from the union filed a proposed measure with elections officials Monday.
Proposed by the secessionist group Yes California, the measure asking voters if they want to secede could appear on a statewide 2018 ballot. If the advisory measure is approved, a special election would be held in March 2019 to confirm that more than 55 percent of voters agree that California should become an independent nation.
“Let’s do this!” the secessionist group tweeted after filing its petition. “Secession is illegal? So was marijuana. So were same-sex and interracial marriages. So was alcohol. We can choose our future!”
The number of Yes California’s Facebook and Twitter followers exploded on election night as voters in the predominantly blue state came to terms with Hillary Clinton’s defeat. As of Tuesday, Yes California had over 16,000 Twitter followers and 28,000 likes on its Facebook campaign page.
If the measure qualifies and is eventually passed by voters, California’s next governor would “shepherd” the Golden State to join the United Nations.
“The governor shall carry and shepherd an application for the newly independent Republic of California to join the United Nations. The governor shall have the authority to appoint an ambassador to whom he may delegate this duty,” the initiative states.
According to the secessionist group, California pays an unfair amount of federal taxes and that its cultural values are out of line with the other 49 states. They claim the state’s natural resources, including coal and natural gas, are being extracted by private companies and sold below market value with the permission of the federal government.
Playing off of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union this past June, the secessionists are calling the campaign “Calexit.”
“In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children,” the group’s website states.
Along with voter approval, the group’s unlikely secession path would then require approval by two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the other states. Considering the size of California’s economy – the sixth largest in the world – federal lawmakers would certainly fight to keep its breadwinner in the union.
Nonetheless, the group paid the $2,000 filing fee and submitted its petition to the state Attorney General’s Office on Monday. The secessionists will need to collect over 500,000 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the 2018 statewide ballot.
The group and its president Louis Marinelli have tried unsuccessfully to qualify similar measures in the past. Marinelli ran in 2016 as an Independent candidate for the state Assembly but finished in third place in the primary election; only the top two candidates advance to the general election in California.
Another secessionist group made headlines in 2015 by reviving a 75-year-old plan to separate from California and form the state of Jefferson. As of January 2016, 21 largely rural and conservative counties in Northern California had officially indicated their intent to leave the Golden State – which they similarly say doesn’t represent their values or interests.