California is a large state, home to nearly 40 million people, more than Canada and Australia.
Most Californians live in the metro areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento.
21 of the states 58 counties are rural with less than 2 million people. In 1879, Representation was capped at 80 Assembly members and 40 Senators.
Many people in the rural areas of the state believe they are not only under represented They believe a large percent of their tax dollars goes to the metro areas while the needs of the rural areas are ignored.
The Citizens for Fair Representation, known locally as the State of Jefferson, has filed a lawsuit against the State of California over what they believe to be lack of representation and dilution of vote. It is the worst representation ratio in the United States. Each State Senator represents nearly one million people. Each Assembly person represents around 500,000 people. We are four times worse off than Texas which is the second worse representation ratio in the United States.
Jefferson proponents, who aim to carve a state out of 21 counties stretching north of Sacramento to the Oregon border, have long argued that their communities lack sufficient voice in state government and that their unique concerns have been ignored.
Community organizer Terry Rapoza called having only one representative for every one million people in California “appalling.” “Currently, 11 northern rural counties have one senator whose vote is diluted by 15 Senators representing the single County of Los Angeles,” said Citizens for Fair Representation in a press release. The organization represents residents in 21 counties. “The thing that we really need here is liberty,” Rapoza said. “And I don’t care if you’re left wing or right wing, no one wants to just be part of the chicken.”
Rapoza is confident the group will be successful in gaining better representation as they have the standing once the lawsuit goes to court. The legal remedy, he said, will be splitting the State of California.
“The problem is that California is much too big and diverse to be a complete state.”
Citizens for Fair Representation said New Hampshire’s ratio of representation (24 Senators for every 55,000 people) models the type of representation they seek for California.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Rapoza said. “And to come this far is simply amazing.”
For more information on the State of Jefferson, click here.