Why Oregon conservatives want to redrew the state and join Idaho

The group is seeking thousands of signatures to add the proposal to local ballots in November 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Tuesday 18 February 2020 23:45 GMT
Oregon conservatives want to redraw state lines so their counties can join Idaho
Oregon conservatives want to redraw state lines so their counties can join Idaho (Greater Idaho Facebook )

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A group of Oregon conservatives has petitioned to redraw their state lines and join Idaho in an attempt to avoid liberal policies.

Greater Idaho, the group leading the movement, secured approval from two counties in Oregon and is now working to gather enough signatures to put the proposal on local ballots come November, USA Today reports.

If they succeed then voters in southeast Oregon may see a question on their election ballots asking if they would like to become a part of Idaho, thus redrawing the boundary lines of the state.

The group said they tried other unsuccessful tactics to challenge their Democratic-leaning state in recent elections, but they now see redrawing state lines as the "last resort".

"Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values," petitioner Mike McCarter said in a news release. "We tried voting those legislators out but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort."

Democrats currently control both branches of the state's legislature as well as the governor's mansion.

Not only is southeast Oregon targeted in the petition, but organisers are also looking to add the northeast part of California to Idaho.

To further promote the intiative, the gorup has appealed to liberal citizens to explain why conservative counties leaving would improve each state.

"These [Democratic] legislatures can be expected to be in favour of strengthening the position of their party in their state by letting Trump-voting counties leave," the group said in the release. "They should be in favour of improving their state finances by allowing the departure of counties that don't pay their share of income and sales taxes because of lower incomes."

Greater Idaho said it needs to collect about 2,400 signatures from Josephine County and about 3,000 from Douglas County, both of which are in Oregon, to appear on the ballot.

If the group succeeds and gets the proposal passed, only 14 of the 36 counties in Oregon would remain with the state. Approval from all three state legislatures, including Idaho, and from the US Congress would also be needed to officially change state lines.

"People here would prefer Idaho's conservative governance to the progressive/liberal current Oregon governance," petitioner Valerie Gottschalk said in the release. "Every time I look at the Facebook group Greater Idaho, the group has gotten bigger."

The Greater Idaho Facebook page currently has more than 2,000 followers who support the movement.

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