Supporters of making California an independent nation are beginning their second longshot attempt to recruit voters by submitting a new proposed ballot measure.
The measure being submitted to state officials Friday by the separatist California Freedom Coalition takes a more gradual approach than one withdrawn by an earlier group last month.
It would have the governor negotiate with the federal government to give California more autonomy as what supporters call a "nation within a nation." Or the talks could eventually lead to full independence.
About a dozen supporters gathered outside the state Capitol were met by a nearly equal number of American flag-carrying protesters who want California to remain part of the United States.
The coalition must collect more than 585,000 signatures to qualify for next year's ballot.
Similar attempts to establish California as a nation, or break it into multiple states, have failed.
Threats to secede from the United States have been a part of American politics almost since the nation was founded. The most serious attempt came before and during the Civil War, when 11 Southern states left to form the Confederacy.
Another hurdle would be the U.S. Constitution, which does not provide for state secession.