How the #Calexit independence ballot measure works

Last week, the Americans chose Donald Trump as their president. We Californians overwhemingly cast our ballots for another candidate who ended up winning the popular vote but losing the election. This campaign is not just about Donald Trump, though. It is about the American people who elected him. If they could do such a thing, then the United States is not our country and Trump is not our president. We will vote to secede from the Union.


But let's be clear: this secession campaign is not just about protesting the loss of an election.

It is about the flawed election system in which California has lived for decades. Recall a similar scenario in 2000 which ushered in the presidency of George W. Bush. Recall how California's electoral votes haven't affected the outcome of a presidential election since 1876. 

It is about the flawed fiscal system in which California has lived for decades subsidizing the other states (many of which voted to elect Donald Trump) while we lack adequate funding for healthcare, education, social services, infrastructure, and other quality of life issues here in California. Do you really want your taxes going to the states which just elected Trump?

It is about the flawed political system in which California has lived for decades, one where nothing gets done and progress is held back by hundreds of millions of non-Californians who do not share the same worldview as us, and who have a different culture, a different set of priorities, and different plans for the future. We in California could get so much more done if we could free ourselves from the shackles of statehood.

So our campaign is moving forward with our independence referendum ballot measure to give us Californians the opportunity to determine our own future. We will have two choices: vote for continued statehood, or vote yes to nationhood. 

A lot of people understandably have questions as to how that is going to actually work and we hope this blog post will explain our strategy for getting #Calexit on the ballot in 2018. 

First of all, why do we have to wait until 2018? Unfortunately, California state law currently requires ballot initiatives to be run in even-year elections and so we have to wait until the next election cycle. Our campaign supports an expedited process but that will require an act of the California Legislature to make it possible. Please consider contacting Assemblyman Evan Low who promised the day before the election to explore secession if Donald Trump was elected. 


Short of an act of the Legislature to expedite this process, it is going to be up to we the people of California to get this done. That means our campaign will submit a ballot initiative proposal which will require at least a million signatures to qualify and we'll have six months to collect those signatures. That is why signing up as a volunteer is so important. 

Another hurdle (besides the time, number of signatures necessary, and the sheer cost of this process) is the fact that although a citizen's ballot initiative can create a law or amend the state consititution, it can not ask a question. So our campaign has devised a strategy which we tested last year to get our #Calexit question on the ballot while also following the letter of the law. Here's how it will work. 

There are two fronts here. First, the constitutional amendent aspect of the initiative must amend the California Constitution to completely remove Article III, Section 1, which reads: "The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land."

Notice how that section was added to the state constitution in 1972? We can remove it. 


The second part of our ballot initiative addresses the #Calexit vote. Again, we can't put "Should California be an independent country?" directly onto the ballot as it would not create a law or amend the state constitution. So our campaign is currently finalizing the text of a ballot initiative that, if passed, would require the State of California (specificially the Secretary of State at the order of the Governor) to organize a special election (of sorts) in the spring of 2019. 

So here's a quick timeline:

  • Submit the #Calexit ballot initiative proposal to the State of California now
  • State of California conducts fiscal impact report
  • State of California issues circulating title and summary
  • The six-month signature collection period begins in Spring, 2017
  • 1M+ signatures turned into the State of California in Summer, 2017
  • Vote to amend state constitution and establish a #Calexit vote in November, 2018
  • Vote YES (or No) on California independence in March or April of 2019. 

As a last point, a signature collection campaign with a goal of 1M+ signatures is an expensive endeavor which will require millions of dollars to achieve. We can't do this alone, please consider making a contribution


If you have written to us and haven't received a reply yet, we apologize. Our inbox is completely inundated with messages. The good news is most of these messages are from people in fact begging to get involved in this campaign!