Could the 51st state be wedged between California and Oregon? Voters in two northern California counties will tomorrow weigh in on the question, Reuters reports. Activists in Del Norte and Tehama Counties want to break away from the Golden State, linking parts of northern California and southern Oregon together as the state of Jefferson. Other nearby counties have already backed the separation effort, the AP notes, though actually seceding would require state and federal approval.
And that approval seems unlikely, an expert tells Reuters. "There is no incentive" for federal officials to pass the measure, he says. “If you’re one of 100 senators, you don’t want to become one of 102." Pro-separation activists in the sparsely populated area are tired of having little representation in state government. "We have 11 counties up here that share one state senator," says movement leader Aaron Funk. Some in the conservative region feel disconnected from the state's urban areas. Up to 16 California counties could choose to join the movement, backers say, covering a quarter of the state's land but far less of its population, the AP notes. The name Jefferson is linked to Thomas Jefferson's concept of a possible republic in the west. Click for another proposed split.