California Secede? One Group Got a Key Approval Last Week to Try

One of the most well-known groups pushing for California to secede from the rest of the country got the OK from state officials last week to collect signatures for a secession question on a future ballot.

The news of the approval came on the heels of California's 170th “birthday,” or anniversary marking the day it became the 31st state in the union. If the signature collection by pro-independence group Yes California is successful, residents would, in an undetermined future election, decide whether to cast a “no confidence” vote in the United States and create a commission to evaluate the Golden State’s ability to govern itself.

Yes California is one of several small, but vocal, organizations pushing for state independence. Its leaders are now working to secure 623,212 registered voter signatures in the next 180 days to qualify for the ballot, according to Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state.

It’s not the first time the group has collected signatures to push California to break up with the rest of the United States, taking its wealthy tech titans and 40 million residents with it.

The effort has become an evergreen conversation that seems to have only ramped up in recent years. A few of California’s rich and powerful, including venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, have put their weight behind the idea, particularly after President Donald Trump’s 2016 election win.

“We can re-enter the union after California becomes a nation,” Pishevar told CNBC in 2016 as a direct response to Trump's election. “As the sixth largest economy in the world, the economic engine of the nation and provider of a large percentage of the federal budget, California carries a lot of weight.”

But little, if anything, has come of those efforts to date.

Most experts and pundits seem to agree it’s unlikely that secession is in California’s future, but others argue that if any state is going to do it, California could be a good bet, particularly as political divisions widen.

In fact, the debate on whether the state should stay or go has been around long enough that there’s no shortage of published thought experiments on the topic. The History Channel last week even reminded everyone of the 25 days in 1846 that California was, indeed, its own nation.

If Yes California is successful in its effort to put a no confidence vote on the ballot and it passes, the state would need to come up with about $1 million to form the commission to analyze California’s ability to govern itself, according to an analysis by the state’s legislative analyst and director of finance.

But that’s a bridge California will cross when—or if—it gets there.

Janice Bitters is managing editor for Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @janicebitters.


  1. California is already worst than a third world country. It can’t govern itself and now a ghetto half already burnt down by human hands and newsome has the odessity to go on TV and promote because of climate change. No human being can control climate it’s nature and california can’t even keep the lites on.

  2. How can California possibly pay it’s public employee pensions without subsidies from DC of freshly printed U.S. dollars?

  3. California sends about $60B to the Federals more than it receives in Federal spending. That would certainly go a long way.

  4. California’s unemployment insurance system is self supporting? No help from the feds?
    Gimme a break. California’s addicted to charity and with our current bunch of “leaders” would decay at an accelerated rate if we successfully seceded.

  5. I am sure the group in this mesure is the extreme left. With Bernie out, their hopes of a communist US went to the drain. The answer from this democrats is NO WAY JOSE! Someone please share the bios of the people behind this.

  6. “California sends about $60B to the Federals more than it receives in Federal spending. That would certainly go a long way.”

    I know that is a major talking point of those who prefer to hold up California as some liberal success but whatever excess California provides the feds (approx 7%) is solely attributable to the fact that California policies force out retirees collecting social security.
    source; California Legislative Analyst Office.

  7. I am sure this group wants California to be separated from the rest of US and for Ro Khanna to be the president of California. This is ridiculous! [email protected] Bernie Sanders and his monkeys! The second thing on their list is for California to become sister state of Iran and for Iran to build its nuclear weapons right here in California. I hope God destroys California with fire before any of this group’s attempt succeed. Dear lord, send fire from heaven before these communist, extremist, and [email protected] [email protected] succeed. Kill them all with your fire. That is my Christmas wish for 2020! Bless California. California for Jesus!

  8. The Federal Government takes the tax money that Californians provide & uses it to subsidize poor hapless Red States like Mississippi,Arkansas & Alabama. Then instead of being grateful these sharecroppers elect right-wing zealots to Congress who insist on obstructing the will of the people of the Golden State. I say let the poor bastards starve,pull up their bootstraps & learn to fend for themselves. Let’s see how popular Republican politicians are when the pork barrel spending ends & their brainless constituents have to pick up the tab for their own inbred stupidity. Let’s cutoff these intolerant & intolerable,mouth breathing,Trump loving hillbillies once & for all !

  9. Typical Christian – angry,ignorant & delusional. Bless his little heart (if you can find it) because Jesus loves him !

  10. SUMMER HEMPHILL – Exactly, you are right, let California go forward into the Vanguard and let the Trumpettes tighten their grip on their guns and bibles. It will be better for everyone.

  11. THE hate from the extremist left and right is toxic! Being open minded does not mean separating from those that have different opinions and views from us. I am a democrat and have friends who are Republicans, Independent, religious and atheist. This is a free country. Dig your own cave and die there sooner than later. It is the extremist Republicans and Democrats who are causing divisions in this country. THIS HAS TO STOP! #BidenHarris2020 [email protected] #BernieSanders #Trump #Communists and #Dictatorship apologist #ME THE CHRISTIAN #BLESSCALIFORNIA

  12. “Typical Christian” says the b!tch who hates those with dissenting ideas and beliefs! I speak for myself not for all the Christians! Go Jesus!

  13. “THE hate from the extremist left and right is toxic!”

    I grow tired of these false equivalents. The Left (and this is not the extreme left, but the leadership) wants to:

    eliminate the first amendment – free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion
    limit the second amendment if not revoke it outright
    trial by mob with out due process on all police-related killings of blacks and latinos by white cops
    end due process for men accused by women (#believe women)
    end private property property rights (because all property is theft)
    end the electoral college (its racist – it is an artifact of slavery)
    end the Senate (its racist – whites from small states have disproportionate power)
    continue to give unprecedented power to the executive
    stuff the Supreme Court to the point they can guarantee its activism
    defund the police
    topple statutes of George Washington, Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, etc
    dismantle the nuclear family
    claim looting is reparations
    establish neo-segregation in the universities and in jurisprudence
    establish race-based reparations
    cheer on Billionaire Bloomberg’s buying of Florida

    This is the leadership, not some crazy in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The left, the Democratic Party, and in most part Californians are against the constitution, the rule of law, property, and American History.

    Fine, we don’t need your money that bad. You keep your money, we will keep our principles, our history, our values, our Constitution.

    Good luck.

  14. What’s interesting is that the northern part of the State, affectionately called Jefferson, also wants to secede from California.

  15. Watch Hannity,listen to Limbaugh,worship Trump & add a big dose of QAnon & what do you get ? Marginalized & greatly outnumbered fascist nitwits who amuse the vast majority of their neighbors with their psychotic ranting here in the Comments. It’s the same handful of escapees from the loony bin,story after story. They’re in their basements drinking rotgut liquor & sitting all alone in front of their mothers computers wearing a filthy “I’m with Stupid” T-shirt & pee stained boxers. I’d start a GoFund Me effort for these cretins to get lobotomies,but then we wouldn’t have these pathetic pinheads to laugh at anymore. Remember “stupid is as stupid does” & these Einsteins make Forrest Gump look like an f-ing valedictorian. Let’s see what kind of thought provoking & intelligent responses these learned philosophers can pull out of their rectal cavities to dispute anything I’ve said about them & their brain dead brethren.

  16. SUMMER!!! You are the b!tch who called me angry. I am sure you roll in a basket when you go to sleep. The news today are not objective anymore. You can easily tell the political causes and people they support. FOX NEWS IS THE FORUM OF extreme right. CNN IS THE FORUM OF EXTREME LEFT! This is a reality you should accept. Most democrats dislike Trump as much as they dislike democrats like you. This is why we voted for Biden not Sanders. Buy yourself a one way ticket to Mars! ME THE Democrat [email protected] Bernie, AOC, Omar…Khanna!

  17. If Trump wins tonight, then I no longer want to be a citizen of the country that America will have become. It is no longer the country in which I grew up. It is no longer the country that I swore an oath to protect and defend as a military officer. If Trump wins, it will be my fervent hope that California secedes, and I’ll definitely be on that side of the border when that happens.

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