Greater Idaho, November 3, 2021
Harney County, Oregon voted heavily in favor of a ballot measure placed on the ballot by petitioners for the Greater Idaho movement in a special election Tuesday. This movement seeks to shift the Oregon/Idaho border to add eastern and southern Oregon counties to Idaho.
Voters in favor outnumbered those opposed 1.7 to 1: 63% voted in favor, 37% opposed. Greater Idaho was the only county-wide issue on the ballot, there were no statewide races, and the turnout in Harney County was 70% higher than the statewide average for this month’s special elections.
Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border, reacted to the vote: “rural Oregon is declaring as loudly as it can that it does not consent to being misgoverned by Oregon’s leadership and chooses to be governed as part of a state that understands rural Oregon’s values and way of making a living. We call on the Oregon Legislature to not dare to hold these counties captive. Let the people decide which legislature they shall govern themselves by. This week’s poll shows that Idaho is ready to accept our counties.”
In May, all five counties that voted on the issue voted in favor, averaging 62% in favor, 38% opposed. Two counties voted in favor in November 2020. Move Oregon’s Border says it has enough signatures to get the issue on the May 2022 ballot in Douglas County and Klamath County. Citizens are still collecting signatures for the movement in Curry, Josephine, Morrow, and Umatilla counties. “In Coos, Crook, Gilliam, Wheeler, and Wallowa counties, we are asking citizens to contact their county commissioners to put an advisory question on their ballot,” said Mike McCarter, “however, we don’t need a vote from every county just to convince the state legislatures to move the border. We’re asking everyone to contact their state legislators now.”
“Northwestern Oregon should want to let eastern and southern Oregon counties join Idaho. Because if they do, then state income tax revenue would improve by hundreds of dollars per person annually, because the per capita personal income of these counties is only as high as Idaho’s. Also, our counties elect representatives who gridlock the Oregon Legislature. If the Legislature wants to make progress, they’ll have to let our counties go,” McCarter said.