Two of the 17 counties proposed by the “Greater Idaho” movement will vote in November to break away from Oregon and join Idaho, with whom they say they have more in common.
Two conservative eastern Oregon counties will vote on a ballot measure this November to decide whether to leave one of the country’s most liberal states and join their western neighbors in a newly redesigned “Greater Idaho.”
The Greater Idaho movement seeks to make 15 of Oregon’s counties and parts of two others, comprising about two-thirds of that state’s land area, part of Idaho.
Supporters of the movement say the largely conservative and sparsely populated eastern counties have far more in common with Republican-led Idaho than they do with Oregon, whose politics are dominated by the state’s densely populated cities in the west. .
“It makes more sense for Eastern Oregonians to get state-level government from Idaho, where they share their values, they share their culture, they share their politics, than to be governed by Western Oregonians,” said Matt McCaw, a spokesman for Greater Oregon. Idaho, to Fox News.
To date, nine of Oregon’s 36 counties have voted to explore state line changes and two others, Morrow and Wheeler, will vote to support the idea on Election Day.
In Morrow County, the measure requires the board of county commissioners to meet three times a year “to discuss how best to advance the interests of their county in “any negotiations related to the relocation of the Oregon state line and Idaho”.
In Wheeler County, residents will vote to ask Oregon state legislators to allocate tax dollars “to work to move the Idaho border” to include the county.
“Our whole core principle is that people deserve to have the kind of government they want and that shares their values,” McCaw said. “So we don’t want to drag anyone into something they don’t want.”
In the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump dominated Eastern Oregon, receiving nearly 80% of the vote in some counties.
However, President Joe Biden ultimately won the state with 56.5% of the vote thanks to liberal cities like Portland and Eugene.
Meanwhile, Idaho voted 63.9% for Trump and just 33.1% for Biden.
If all 17 counties pass the measure, they still face numerous obstacles to breaking away from Oregon and joining Idaho. The legislatures of both states and the United States Congress would have to approve the measure.
While state borders have been redrawn in the past, including Massachusetts after it seceded from Maine in 1820, there is no precedent for large swathes of one state joining another existing state.
There are several logistical hurdles to redrawing state lines, such as different minimum wages and laws like legalizing marijuana in Oregon.
Idaho lawmakers have been more open to the proposal. Earlier this year, that state’s representative, Barbara Ehardt, introduced legislation stating that lawmakers would continue discussions on the border with Oregon.
The resolution notes that Oregon has resources that “would be very beneficial to Idaho,” such as timber, minerals and water, Fox reported.
If lawmakers can get together and discuss the matter quickly, McCaw said she was optimistic the borders could move as soon as 2024.
“We’ve shown that people in eastern Oregon want to follow this idea, and we’re going to keep trying to get as many of those counties on the ballot as possible,” she said. “But it’s time for the legislature to step up and start this discussion.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.