LEWISTON, ID - A grass-roots group with the goal of moving the Oregon/Idaho border submitted their ballot initiatives to county clerks in Jefferson County and Union County on August 5th to get their initiatives the November 3rd ballot. The same group submitted their initiative to the Wallowa County Clerk on Friday, July 31st.
Currently, the deadline to submit of signatures for county ballot initiatives was August 5th. The group called Move Oregon’s Border initiated a federal lawsuit to get a delay of the deadline date and a reduction in the signature requirement in 15 Oregon counties due to Covid-19 restrictions. Although their first motion for a preliminary injunction was denied on July 20th, the group says they fixed the deficiencies of the first motion in a second motion. Responses from the defendants to the second motion were due August 5th, and now the group awaits the judge’s ruling.
According to group organizers, 719 signatures were submitted to the Jefferson County Clerk. A ballot initiative needs 531 valid signatures to get onto the Jefferson County ballot. Proponents also submitted 960 signatures to the Union County Clerk, where 705 valid signatures are required.
In Douglas County, the group came up 30 signatures short, having only 2925 where 2955 are needed. Group President Mike McCarter said, “We need a lot more than 30 more signatures in Douglas County anyway, because every campaign has some duplicates and signatures of people whose registration has become inactive are disqualified.” Sherman County and Harney County also collected more than 70% of the required number.
“Our campaign continues because we expect our federal court case to result in an extended deadline. Even if it doesn’t, we can use these signatures to get on the May 2021 county election ballots. So, we are still asking people to join our Facebook group and sign their county petition. One signature could make the difference in any county if the federal judge reduces the signature requirement enough. Plus, there is still time for county commissioners to put a non-binding advisory question onto their county’s ballot about this. This year, eighteen county boards in Illinois have put a question about splitting their state on the ballot in their counties. We don’t need to get on the ballot in every county because ultimately it will be up to state legislators of both states to decide on the new location for the state border," said McCarter.