Five Eastern Oregon counties voted to consider a move to Idaho on Tuesday. Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman counties voted for measures that would require county officials to research the possibility of joining Idaho.
A group called Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho wants to convince multiple counties in rural Oregon, as well as Northern California, to secede from their current states and join Idaho. Proponents of the movement feel as though they would be better served and represented by Idaho’s political atmosphere.
“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” lead petitioner Mike McCarter said in a statement. “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.”
Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho has a blueprint for implementing their plan, complete with a map. “Oregon’s governor and legislature don’t need any Republican votes to rule Oregon. None of the Democrats in the legislature represent a rural area,” reads the group’s mission statement. “This is why Oregon passes laws that kill industries in eastern, central, and southern Oregon. They don’t protect us from rioters, forest arsonists, or school curriculum that teach kids to hate Americans and Americanism. And they pass laws that violate our conscience. We can’t let our money support their system anymore. We are outnumbered, we don’t have leverage, and things will continue to get worse.”
Tuesday’s vote is far from an actual referendum on such a proposal, which is highly unlikely to pass given the current situation. Such a move would require approval from both state legislatures, as well as the U.S. Congress. Enthusiasm among the movement appears to be growing, however, as turnout in the counties that voted nearly doubled that of other Oregon counties in Tuesday’s elections.