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Politics & Government

Josephine County adds question about joining Idaho to May ballot

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Courtesy of Move Oregon's Border For A Greater Idaho
A map of the proposed state boundary change to create "Greater Idaho."

The Josephine County commissioners voted on Wednesday to add a question to the May ballot about seceding from Oregon and joining Idaho.

If residents of Josephine County vote to leave Oregon, they would be added to a list of eight other counties in the state that have said they would like to join Idaho.

Mike McCarter, with Citizens of Greater Idaho, admits that these resolutions don't have any legal precedent.

“It’s just an advisory question,” he says. “And with an advisory question like that, it gives the county commissioners an idea of what their opinion is in Josephine County. And it sends a message to the Oregon Legislature and the representatives.”

According to Citizens for Greater Idaho, the conservative values of Idaho more closely align with Southern Oregon. The group also claims that joining Idaho would help end the divide between rural and urban counties in Oregon and lower taxes for Southern Oregonians.

The question on the ballot reads “In your opinion, should Josephine County separate from Oregon and become part of Idaho?”

If this proposal made it to the state Legislature, any bill asking to leave Oregon would have a tough path forward. It would need to be passed by both the Oregon and Idaho state Legislatures and would then have to go to the U.S. Congress for approval.