The California state flag. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Backers of an initiative that could ultimately make California an independent country were cleared Wednesday to begin gathering signatures.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that backers could begin gathering signatures, and said they would need 585,407 from registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2014 general election — to qualify for the ballot.

The “California Autonomy” initiative would repeal a provision of the state constitution declaring the state an inseparable part of the United States and direct the governor to negotiate greater autonomy from the federal government.

The initiative language says that autonomy could be as far reaching as an “agreement establishing California as a fully independent country.”

The backers, who have created the California Freedom Coalition, have 180 days to collect the necessary signatures.

Show comments