The smell of democracy is in the air in California:
California Voters in Del Norte and Tehama, with a combined population of about 91,000, will decide June 3 on an advisory measure that asks each county's board of supervisors to join a wider effort to form a 51st state named Jefferson.
Elected officials in Glenn, Modoc, Siskiyou and Yuba counties already voted to join the movement. Supervisors in Butte County will vote June 10, while local bodies in other northern counties are awaiting the June 3 ballot results before deciding what to do.
As many as 16 counties, making up more than a quarter of the state's land mass, could be included in the cessation efforts, according to some supporters. Yet, in a state boasting a population of around 38 million, these counties only represent a fraction of the state's diverse electorate, which presents a challenge on a number of fronts: questions over representation, resources, schools, energy all have yet to be sorted out. Which perhaps explains why supporters are pushing the measure: It is simply a study into the idea, baby steps toward converting these chosen counties into the country's 51st state. Such a move would require approval by both the California state Legislature and Congress.
Which is to say secession is a tall order.