Yes to 'Greater Idaho': Two more conservative counties in Oregon vote to join neighboring red state

Residents of these sparsely populated counties are politically aligned with the Republicans in Idaho than the Democrats in Oregon

Yes to 'Greater Idaho': Two more conservative counties in Oregon vote to join neighboring red state
Sixty percent of voters in Morrow County and 58 percent of those in Wheeler County voted yes on a 'Greater Idaho' (GreaterIdaho.org)
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WHEELER COUNTY, OREGON: A group of Republican voters in Eastern and Central Oregon have moved a step closer to becoming part of the state next door, Idaho. Fed up with their liberal lawmakers, voters in two of Oregon's eastern conservative counties, Morrow and Wheeler, voted on Tuesday, November 8, to explore their options to leave the state and join the red state of Idaho instead. 

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Sixty percent of voters in Morrow County and 58 percent of those in Wheeler County voted yes on a 'Greater Idaho' measure that aims to move Oregon's eastern border, so about half, of the state, becomes part of Idaho, according to Daily Mail. Moreover, 11 of the 15 Oregon counties in this region have voted on initiatives, indicating they are open to joining the neighboring state. 

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Residents of these sparsely populated counties are more politically aligned with the Republicans in Idaho than the Democrats who represent Oregon politics. "It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn't match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon," the Greater Idaho website argued, reported source. To change a state's borders, lawmakers in Oregon, Idaho and the US Congress would have to sign off on it. Nevertheless, the organizers have claimed they collected enough signatures for a ballot initiative to appear on a ballot in Wallowa County as well.

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However, efforts in Crook, Gilliam and Umatilla counties have been impeded, due to county commissioners not agreeing to put an advisory question regarding the issue on the ballot, the website said. The difference between an advisory vote and an advisory question is that the outcome of the advisory question will not result in any new or change in the constitutional amendment. Rather advisory questions allow voters to voice their preferences and allow the state legislature to gauge the public opinion being represented. 

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The Greater Idaho movement is a radical proposition that would see nearly two-thirds of Oregon’s 63 million acres (98,000 square miles), but less than 10% of its population, join neighboring Idaho, reported New York Post. Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan lost by a thin margin to her Democratic rival Tina Kotek on Tuesday. Democrat Tina Kotek received 86 percent of the vote counted. President Joe Biden called and congratulated Kotek for her win on board Air Force One overnight.

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Furthermore, the leader of Greater Idaho, Mike McCarter was not pleased with the secession result. "We call on the Legislature to let each half of the state go their separate ways in peace. If western Oregon doesn't like the risk of being forced to accept the gubernatorial candidate it voted against, then it should simply stop holding our counties captive in this unhappy marriage," McCarter said. "Actually, it's not even as dramatic as a divorce because we're not breaking up a family. Moving a state border is similar to redistricting a utility provider."

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