By Jennifer Chaussee
(Reuters) – A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states failed to collect enough signatures to put it on the November 2016 ballot, state officials said on Friday, as the group behind the plan criticized the rejection.
The Six Californias campaign submitted more than a million signatures to the Secretary of State’s office on Friday, but only about 750,000 were counted as valid, the state elections agency said on its website.
The campaign needed over 800,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.
The idea of breaking up the nation’s most populous state raised bipartisan hackles, and opponents said it stood little chance of gaining voter approval. But it gained national attention for the changes it would have wrought in a state that ranks as the world’s eighth largest economy.
It also carried the possibility of upsetting the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, where each state has two senators. But opponents said that if California voters approved it, Congress would have been unlikely to sign off on the plan.
(Reporting by Jennifer Chaussee in Berkeley, California, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Sandra Maler)
[Image: Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, via Shutterstock]