On Tuesday, voters in five counties in eastern Oregon urged county officials to begin to promote border relocation and joining Idaho.
The counties — Malheur, Sherman, Grant, Baker and Lake — join Jefferson and Union counties, whose voters applied to join Idaho last year, in their planned secession to what is being called “Greater Idaho.”
While President Biden was favored 56 to 40 percent ahead of former President Donald Trump statewide, these five counties heavily favored Trump over Biden with up to 69-79 percent of the vote going to Trump.
The group, Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, is behind the effort. In addition to rural eastern Oregon, the planned Greater Idaho would also encompass large swathes of northeastern California.
Last year, a drive “to seek refuge from the blue states” was stalled after petitioners seeking signatures to place the item on the ballot said COVID-19 stopped their efforts.
“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,” Mike McCarter, lead petitioner, said.
Last year McCarter said that the movement was a “peaceful revolution” and that the vote would be a crucial decision between rural and urban areas.
Any such change in the state’s boundaries would require ratification by the Oregon Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats. From there Oregon and Idaho would have to sign a formal agreement, which will then have to be ratified by the U.S. Congress.
Congress has only allowed for such a change on three instances, the last in 1863 when West Virginia was created during the Civil War.
Future elections on similar ballot items will be held for residents of Harney County and Douglas County.
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