Five Oregon Counties Vote For Becoming a Part of Idaho

The goal of the initiative is for Idaho to absorb about three-quarters of Oregon
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 8:54 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —On May 18 the grassroots organization Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho was successful in galvanizing rural voters from five counties in eastern Oregon to vote in favor of becoming part of Idaho. Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker, and Malheur counties voted in favor of the measure, and the average turnout was 43%, much higher than the statewide average of 25% for this election. The average per county vote in favor was 62%.

The goal of the initiative is for Idaho to absorb about three-quarters of Oregon, but it would only be a small portion of the state’s population. Roughly 800,000 of the state’s 4.2 million residents live in rural counties

The organizers and supporters of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho feel the conservative rural residents are being dominated by the liberal urban centers in the Northwest part of the state.

The group has a six-part process for making the proposal into a reality. The moves include everything from rural Oregonians collecting signatures to put a question on the ballot, to convincing the state legislatures to make a compact with the other state and pass it. The final part would be getting Congress to approve it.

The ballot measures are intended to put pressure on the state legislatures of Oregon and Idaho to negotiate an interstate compact to relocate their common border.

“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,” said Mike McCarter, president of Citizens for Greater Idaho, “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.”

When asked why his followers haven’t moved to Idaho, McCarter said “We love our communities. We’re tied into them. It’s just the state government that we can’t stand.”

Two additional Oregon counties had already voted in favor in November: Union and Jefferson.

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