“Five eastern Oregon counties voted Tuesday in favor of considering becoming part of Idaho. Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman counties join Union and Jefferson, which voted last year to require county officials to study or promote joining Idaho.
Grant voted 1,471 to 895 for county officials “to meet and discuss relocating Idaho border.”
Lake voted 1,341 to 463 for the “relocation of Idaho border” to be taken up in “county board of commissioners meetings.”
Malheur voted 3,050 to 2,572 for “county court meetings regarding relocation of Oregon-Idaho border.”
Sherman voted 429 to 260 in favor of “promoting moving Oregon-Idaho border.”
Baker voted 3,064 to 2,307 for county commissioners “to meet three times per year to discuss a proposal to include 18 counties, including Baker, as part of Idaho,” the Baker City Herald reported. Baker County results are not yet available from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.
The grassroots group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho wants to flip Oregon’s mostly rural eastern and southern counties — plus a few northern counties in California — into Idaho, believing they’d be better off in Idaho’s more conservative political environment. It’s hoping that political pressure from county initiative votes will lead to negotiations between Oregon and Idaho to move the border between the two states, putting up to 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties in Idaho.
“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” lead petitioner Mike McCarter said in a statement. “If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will. 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.”
The signature-gathering effort “to gain political refuge from blue states” was hampered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s now picking up some momentum. Several prominent elected officials in Idaho, including Gov. Brad Little, have expressed support for the movement.”