Several counties in California and Colorado have embarked on journeys to secede from their respective states. These efforts, which aim to create a "Northern Colorado" and state called "Jefferson" in California, are residents' responses to their frustrations with recently passed laws and legislation.
The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors in California voted 4-1 this week to form Jefferson, which is slated to be a Republican state. Their reasons for applying for secession include complaints related to "regulation, restriction of rights, lack of representation, regionalism and restoration of limited government." While these concerns must be addressed, they are not sufficient grounds for secession. In general, secession is not an effective strategy for resolving political divides as it hinders activism, understanding, and collaboration among people of various schools of thought within a state.
Residents can petition their way to forming sovereign state if they believe their freedom is impeded upon by their current state. However, given the extensive process required for state secession, political and cultural differences between residents may not suffice. State secession is contingent upon approval from the existing state's legislature, voters, and the governor. If these conditions are met, Congress must approve admission of the new state into the Union.
West Virginia's secession from Virginia, which occurred in 1863 during the Civil War, marks the last time a state seceded in the U.S. The counties in California and Colorado consist primarily of Republicans who disagree with "Democratic-controlled legislature." Colorado's secession, for example, is driven by efforts to avoid environmental regulation and gun safety laws.
Secessioninsts' efforts will prove futile as they are attempting to use political differences as basis for their case. With lack of public support, advocates and commissioners have pulled in the reigns slightly, but many continue to continue fighting for their proposed secession plans.