SACRAMENTO (AP) — Tehama County voters have approved an advisory measure about whether to create a 51st state.
County election results show Measure A winning 56 percent of the vote in the June 3 primary. Only a few hundred ballots remained to be counted Tuesday, not enough to change the outcome.
Voters in Tehama and Del Norte counties decided identical ballot questions last week about whether to consider creating a new state to be named Jefferson. Del Norte voters rejected the measure, with 59 percent opposed.
Tehama joins four other Northern California counties in which elected officials have voted to join the movement: Glenn, Modoc, Siskiyou and Yuba.
Tehama County, with about 63,000 residents, is among 16 counties targeted for secession that together make up more than a quarter of California’s land mass but a small slice of its population. It’s a long-simmering issue for residents in rural, sparsely populated counties, where residents feel ignored by their elected officials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
In Siskiyou County, where the board of supervisors has already voted to join the new state movement, voters last week rejected a separate drive to rename the county the Republic of Jefferson, which drew just 44 percent support.
Supporters of creating a new state need approval from the California Legislature and U.S. Congress, but the current supporters have said they will sue in federal court if the Legislature rejects secession or refuses to take it up.
Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters on election night that he would visit counties across the state as he campaigns for re-election, including “the people of Jefferson, and tell them to stick around.”