County Clerk Bobbi Childers placed a “Greater Idaho” ballot measure on the November Morrow County ballot. On Wednesday, she certified that the Greater Idaho movement had gathered more than enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. Update: She awarded the initiative a measure number: 25-88.
The Greater Idaho movement proposes that the Oregon/Idaho border be moved to include eastern Oregon into Idaho so that conservative counties will be governed by a conservative state.
If approved by voters, the measure would require county commissioners to meet three times per year to consider “how to promote the interests of Morrow County in any negotiations regarding relocations of state borders.” Mike McCarter, leader of the movement, said that the purpose of the ballot initiative is to use the election result to prove to state legislators that voters are in favor of the Greater Idaho movement. The movement is asking Oregon state legislators for hearings and for cosponsors for a resolution that would invite Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on moving the border.
So far, nine eastern Oregon counties have voted for the movement’s ballot measures: two in November 2020, five in May 2021, one in a special election in November, and Klamath County last month. Also last month, two counties in southwestern Oregon voted only 47% and 49% in favor of the movement. In response, the Greater Idaho movement revised its proposal so that it no longer proposes to include southwestern Oregon into Idaho in phase 1 of the proposal.
When asked why the Oregon Legislature would be motivated to give up a part of the state, Mike McCarter, the leader of the movement, pointed to a January SurveyUSA poll that shows support for the move from voters of northwestern Oregon.
The area of eastern Oregon proposed to join Idaho, which does not include Bend, voted 70% Republican in the 2020 presidential election, while Idaho voted 64% Republican, and Oregon 40% Republican, according to the movement’s website greateridaho.org.
McCarter said “Our representatives would be heard in the Idaho Legislature because they would be a part of the majority party there. Idaho respects rural values and rural industries. Idaho has a lower cost of living and lower taxes.”
Updated maps for the movement are here: www.greateridaho.org/the-maps