Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis J. Marinelli
Marcus Ruiz Evans (left) and Louis J. Marinelli. Courtesy Yes California

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Monday that a new ballot initiative seeking a vote on independence for California was cleared for signature gathering.

The initiative, backed by Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis J. Marinelli, seeks a special election in 2021 to vote on independence from the United States.

“We realize it may seem like a long time to wait,” said Marinelli, the author of the initiative. “But we need time to have a serious dialogue with the people of California about why they should support the independence referendum by voting yes. The voters need to make an informed decision when they go to the polls to determine California’s political future.”

The organizers said the possible re-election of President Trump in 2020 could galvanize support for an independence movement.

Evans and Marinelli’s Yes California group had filed a similar initiative last year, but withdrew it when Marinelli left for a time to live in Russia. Marinelli also introduced a a “California Republic” initiative in 2014 that failed to qualify.

If the new initiative gathers the required 365,880 signatures and is approved by voters in November, then California would hold an internationally supervised election on independence in 2021. If a majority voted in favor, then the state Legislature would declare California’s independence from the United States.

The last time individual states voted to leave the United States was in 1861, when 11 Southern states left the union and were subsequently defeated and occupied by federal troops during the Civil War.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.