Oregon residents launch bid for independence from United States following Donald Trump win

A petition asks that the option to leave the union be put on the ballot in the 2018 mid-term election

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Two people in Oregon state have submitted a petition to allow residents to vote on disbanding from the United States, following the election of Donald Trump as US president. 

A writer and a lawyer from Portland filed the Oregon Seccession Act on Thursday morning, asking that the option to leave the union be put on the ballot in the 2018 mid-term election.

Residents of Californian have also said they want to become independent from the United States since the election result was announced on Wednesday, with the "Calexit" portmanteau trending on twitter

Jennifer Rollins, who works in business and real estate law, and Chistian Trejbal, a journalist, said if their petition were to suceed and the proposition was voted through, they want Oregon to form its own country, together with any other states who want to become part of a new autonomous nation.

Mr Trejbal told the Oregonian newspaper they had been developing the idea for some time, but were spurred to act on the plan by Mr Trump's victory.

About 41 per cent of Oregon voters cast their ballots for Mr Trump. Nearly 52 per cent voted for Hillary Clinton. 

The pair said they want the vote be scheduled for 2018, to give residents some time to think about the decision. They said they would begin collecting signatures on Thursday night at Pioneer Square in Portland, where an anti-Trump protest is planned.

In Oregon, a petition must get 88,184 signatures to be placed on the ballot. 

The Oregon Secession Act says lawmakers “shall seek secession alone or in conjunction with other states and Canadian provinces that seek to form a new nation, including but not limited to California, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska and British Columbia.”.

Other groups have long been campaigning for independence for a pacific north west region, known as Cascadia, which encompasses several states including Oregon and northern California. This movement has been bolstered by the result of the election.

A group called Yes Cascadia is working to “grow Cascadian autonomy and interdependence”, according to the group's website. 

The group said: “Yes Cascadia will qualify a citizen’s initiative for the 2018 ballot that if passed would call for a special election for Cascadians in Washington and Oregon to jointly vote for or against the independence of Cascadia from the United States, and to build a pro-democracy movement for the Pacific Northwest.

"It is our goal to increase our bioregional autonomy; build an accountable and transparent democracy; strengthen liberties, rights and freedoms of individuals and communities; and to protect the things we love about the Pacific Northwest for our future generations.”

However cynics point out that several petitions seeking secessions have been filed after previous elections, including one in Oregon in 2012 when President Barack Obama was first elected.

Bill Funk, a constitutional law professor at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, told Portland local television station KPTV that those who file such "long-shot attempts [at independence] mostly just want attention".

Mr Funk said it’s not in the president’s power under the US Constitution to let a state secede. That would require amending the Constitution, which is extremely difficult and rarely happens.