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Why does San Bernardino want to secede from California? County votes to form 'EMPIRE' state

California's largest county in size, San Bernardino has voted to consider secession in response to the state's liberal direction
(Representational image/Getty Images)
(Representational image/Getty Images)

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA: San Bernardino, California's largest county by its size, has voted to consider secession from the state. An advisory ballot proposal called Measure EE checked with the electorate whether San Bernardino County elected representatives should  "study and advocate for all options to obtain the county's fair share of state funding, including secession from the State of California." 

According to Newsweek, the county has almost 2.18 million residents, the fifth-highest population in California state. "I would never willfully want to leave this state. But I can tell you this, if you're just going to continue to abuse me and abuse us, sometimes you don't have a choice but to stand up for yourself, " said Jeff Burum, a real estate mogul. He also suggested that the county be turned into a new state with the name of "Empire." The voting by San Bernardino residents was passed, with 51.3 percent of votes seeking secession.


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Meanwhile, it is improbable that the county will secede from the state. It's unclear whether secession from the state would be legally or constitutionally possible. The constitution claims that the legislature should approve the secession. Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney said about the secession, "A lot of Californians are unhappy in many ways. The vote on secession was like smashing china. It´s a way of getting attention, but in the end, it doesn´t accomplish much."

Further, "Putting it on a ballot was a waste of time for the voters. The option of actually seceding from the state is not even something that is realistic because of all the steps that actually go into it," Kristin Washington, chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party. San Bernardino stands at 36th position among the 58 counties in case of receiving funds, claims the State controller's office. However, California has weathered more than 220 failed attempts to dismantle the state into as many as six smaller states, reported Daily Mail. 

What is Measure EE? 

According to the Voter Information Guide for San Bernardino County, "The Measure asks voters for their opinion on whether they want San Bernardino County elected representatives to study and advocate for all options to obtain the County's fair share of state funding, including secession from the State of California." Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagma claimed it as "It's more of a protest vote by our residents to say we're not getting what we need. We're not getting the attention we need from Sacramento. We need more money for transportation since we're the logistics hub for California," said Hagman. "We have the largest geographical county; we need more road money," reported ABC. 

According to The Sun, the question for Measure EE was, "Do the people of San Bernardino County want San Bernardino County elected representatives to study and advocate for all options to obtain the county’s fair share of State funding up to and including secession from the State of California?." Meanwhile, If the county’s secession movement becomes successful, the new state could be called Empire and would be the first since Hawaii was established in 1959

Which are the states that were separated through secession?

San Bernardino County is not the only county that succeeded in its secessionist movements. Brown, Hardin, and the northeastern portion of Madison County, the three counties in Illinois, passed referendums allowing secession from the state. In another incident, a majority of residents in Morrow County and Wheeler County from Oregon voted in favor of joining Idaho recently.