Greater Idaho

Image: Greater Idaho

LA PINE, OR - Five counties in eastern Oregon voted for becoming a part of Idaho on Tuesday. Voters approved ballot measures in Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker, and Malheur counties. No counties voted against. On average, voters were 62% in favor of moving borders to include their counties in Idaho. Two additional Oregon counties had already voted in favor in November - Union and Jefferson.

In the five counties that voted on this issue, the average turnout was 43%, much higher than the statewide average of 25% for this election.

The ballot measures are a part of an effort to move the Oregon/Idaho border to extend Idaho’s jurisdiction over rural, conservative counties of eastern and southern Oregon. According to a release from movement organizers, the ballot measures are intended to put pressure on 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."

Sherman County voted for a ballot initiative that makes county commissioners responsible for promoting “the interests of the County in the relocation of Idaho state borders.” Four other counties voted for a ballot initiative that requires county commissioners to meet periodically to “discuss how to promote the interests of [the county] in any negotiations regarding relocations of Idaho state borders.”

McCarter says Idaho state Representatives Barbara Ehardt and Judy Boyle, both Republicans, plan to introduce legislation to move toward possible relocation of the Idaho/Oregon border next January.