Five rural Oregon counties voted on Tuesday to secede from the state of Oregon and join the state of Idaho.
The Idaho Statesman reported:
Thousands of people in eastern Oregon voted Tuesday for their elected officials to consider ditching their state and becoming part of Idaho.
Voters in Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker and Malheur counties all voted for ballot measures that would lead to them becoming Idahoans. People in Union and Jefferson counties had already voted in favor during the November election. . .
The vote is only the first step of the “Greater Idaho” project, which would allow some Oregon counties to join a state that advocates say more closely aligns with their political preferences.
Breitbart News reported in April that a political action committee and a new 501 c 4 non profit group are driving efforts that will allow rural counties in Oregon to join Idaho:
Move Oregon’s Border is a Political Action Committee formed in 2019 that focuses on Oregon ballot initiatives. In March, Move Oregon’s Border founder Michael McCarter announced the establishment of a 501 c 4, Citizens for Greater Idaho, which will focus “on Idaho, Oregon, and beyond, to support the vision of Move Oregon’s Border.” . . .
Petitions gathered by Move Oregon’s Border have forced the placement of ballot initiatives to change the border between Oregon and Idaho for consideration by voters in nine Oregon counties.
Ballot initiatives to change the border between Oregon and Idaho have already been voted on in four Oregon counties. Two counties (Union and Jefferson) voted in favor of moving the border in November, while two additional counties (Douglas and Wallowa) voted against changing the border.
On May 18, the ballot initiative to change the border between Oregon and Idaho will be voted on in five additional counties: Baker, Lake, Grant, Malheur, and Sherman.
“Move Oregon’s Border continues to collect signatures in seven other counties where no vote has occurred yet: Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, Harney, Morrow, and Umatilla counties,” the group’s website states.
Move Oregon’s Border founder and president of Citizens for Greater Idaho Mike McCarter said in a statement released on the group’s website on Wednesday:
This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon. If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.
The statement added:
The election results this week were much stronger than the results in November. “We got on the ballot too early in those counties, before voters had heard of the idea, and before we could educate them on the benefits of joining Idaho, and before we had money for ads. The results this week prove that we were right to spend a little money on educating the voters in these counties. We only spent a tenth of the spending per voter that a typical state senator campaign spends, but it was enough. Now we need to raise funds for the next counties. Greater Idaho will be on the ballot in Douglas, Harney, and probably several other counties where citizens are still collecting signatures or asking county commissioners to put it on the ballot,” McCarter said. “Crook County commissioners invited us to a meeting next week to discuss putting it on the ballot.”
In Oregon, several state legislators have been quoted in the press in support of the border relocation. Reasons the Oregon Legislature should want to let rural Oregon join Idaho were given by McCarter: “In 2019, the average northwestern Oregonian wage-earner subsidized eastern/southern Oregon counties by $367 per year. Are they willing to keep paying that, just so that Oregon looks big on a map? Letting these counties go would mean the Oregon Legislature would avoid gridlock when Republican legislators walk out to try to deny a quorum. We list more reasons at greateridaho.org”
“The signature-gathering effort ‘to gain political refuge from blue states, was hampered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s now picking up some momentum. Several prominent elected officials in Idaho, including Gov. Brad Little, have expressed support for the movement,” Oregon Live reported on Wednesday.