Greater Idaho proposal that encompasses much of Oregon and parts of Northern California. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)
VALE – Malheur County voters will face a ballot measure in May linked to the movement to shift a number of rural Oregon counties into Idaho.
The measure would require the Malheur County Court to meet three times a year to consider a plan to move the Oregon-Idaho border.
Proponents of Ballot Measure 23-64 acquired enough signatures Feb. 17 to put it on the May 18 special election ballot, said Gail Trotter, Malheur County clerk.
The measure needed 539 signatures and Trotter said her office was able to validate 563. The signatures were submitted in two batches, on Jan. 26 and Feb. 11, said Trotter.
Voter approval would require the county court to meet and discuss “how to promote the interests of Malheur County in any negotiations, regarding the relocation of the Oregon-Idaho border.”
The measure is backed by the group Greater Idaho, a non-profit organization that consists of residents from across eastern, central and southern Oregon. The goal of the group is to slice off 18 counties and incorporate them into Idaho.
If voters approve the measure in the counties, the issue would then go to the Legislature for further review. If the Legislature agreed to the plan, the border boundary change would require approval from Congress.
Mike McCarter, a La Pine resident and president of Greater Idaho, said he was pleased the measure gained enough signatures.
“All of the sudden they just came rolling in,” said McCarter.
He said similar measures will be on the May ballot in Lake, Sherman, Baker and Grant counties.
McCarter said his organization also is working to put measures before voters in November in Harney, Morrow, Umatilla, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Curry counties.
McCarter said Greater Idaho faced several challenges, including the Covid pandemic, court battles and, in January, a move by Facebook to eliminate the group’s page.
“Facebook said there was some posts on our site that incited the riots back in D.C.” he said.
McCarter said he was unaware of any such posts and that as one of the page’s administrators, he “watches it like a hawk.”
“We were not espousing the D.C. riots or any of that,” he said.
McCarter said the Greater Idaho Facebook page had more than 12,000 members.
McCarter said his group has moved to Parler, a social networking app similar to Twitter.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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