- Seven rural Oregon counties have voted in favor of leaving Oregon and joining Idaho.
- The effort is led by a group that says Idaho values align better with rural Oregon.
- Oregon voted for Biden, while Idaho voted overwhelmingly for Trump.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Five rural counties in Oregon voted on Tuesday in favor of leaving Oregon and becoming part of Idaho, joining two other counties that already voted in favor of the idea last year.
The ballot measures called on officials in each county to start considering the move, and are the first step of the “Greater Idaho” movement, which aims to expand the state of Idaho to include rural Oregon and part of California.
Activists say Oregon’s government does not represent the conservative values of the much of the state, and that none of the Democrats in the state legislature represent a rural area.
“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 curricula 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,” the website reads.
The likelihood of succeeding in changing the states’ borders is incredibly low, and would require Oregon and Idaho state legislatures, as well as the US Congress, to approve, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
The seven counties that have voted in favor of the proposal — Lake, Grant, Baker, Malheur, Union, and Jefferson — overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Joe Biden won Oregon with 57% of the vote, largely driven by more heavily populated counties near Portland, Eugene, and Bend. Meanwhile, neighboring Idaho was decisive victory for Trump, who won 64% of votes in the state.
Greater Idaho’s goal would involve about three-quarters of Oregon’s land area to become part of Idaho. It calls the situation a win-win for everyone in the state, saying the more urban northwest portion of the state “would be free of ‘low-income, Trump-voting counties.'”
“Idaho respects traditional morality and justice, and it doesn’t get in the way of rural livelihoods. It has lower tax rate and a lower cost of living,” the group says. “We need to unite our neighbors around the idea of moving the border so that we can convince state legislators to stop holding our counties captive in a blue state.”
In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson for Greater Idaho told OPB the latest vote “proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon.”
“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,” he said.
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