Harney County, Oregon, votes to consider Greater Idaho

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Voters in another Oregon county would like to join Idaho.

More than 1,500 people – 63% of voters – in the south-east Harney County, Oregon voted Tuesday in favor of a ballot measure to consider moving the Oregon-Idaho border to abandon their own state, according to election results Wednesday morning.

Residents of seven other counties in Oregon previously voted in favor of similar ballot measures that would lead them to become Idahoans. Voters at Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker, Malheur, Union and Jefferson the counties all voted in favor in the May and November 2020 elections.

The voting initiatives call on county officials to meet to discuss and consider changes to the Oregon-Idaho border.

“Rural Oregon declares as loudly as possible that it does not consent to be badly governed by the rulers of Oregon and chooses to be governed as part of a state that understands values ​​and how to earn its rural Oregon life, ”Mike McCarter, president of Move The Oregon Border, said in a press release. “We call on the Oregon legislature not to dare to hold these counties captive.”

The vote is just the first step in the “Greater Idaho” project, which would see some counties in Oregon join a state that supporters say aligns more closely with their political preferences.

Supporters say the “conservative, pro-Trump, anti-tax voter bands” in rural Oregon have more in common with Idaho, which they want to claim as their own state.

Oregon, which currently has two Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate, has voted blue in the presidential election since 1988, while Idaho, with two Republican senators, has voted red in the presidential election since 1968.

The complicated, multi-step process would require approval from the state legislatures of Idaho and Oregon, as well as approval from the United States Congress. The group hopes to eventually integrate all 36 counties in Oregon, except 14.

The counties that would remain in Oregon would be primarily located in the wine-rich Willamette Valley.

“Rural counties are increasingly outraged by laws emanating from the Oregon legislature that threaten our livelihoods, industries, wallet, gun rights and values,” McCarter said in A press release. “We tried to vote against these lawmakers, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now being ignored. This is our last resort.

Organizers of the “Move Oregon’s Border” and “Greater Idaho” movements said they hoped to get enough signatures to get action on the ballot in two more counties in the May 2022 election.

A recent survey, conducted by the Trafalgar Group on on behalf of Citizens for Greater Idaho, aimed to determine how many Idahoans are in favor of moving the border. About 51% of likely voters said they either definitely or probably supported the membership of rural Oregon counties in their state, 35% were definitely or probably opposed and 14% were undecided. The survey, conducted October 23-27, included 1,112 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%.

About 40% of those polled said they had “heard a lot” about the movement to move the Idaho border, nearly 39% said they had “barely heard of it” and 21% said they hadn’t. had never heard of this effort before, according to the results.

This story was originally published November 3, 2021 11:11 am.

Maddie Capron is a McClatchy Real-Time News Reporter focused on the outdoors and wildlife in the Western United States.


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