Harney County, Oregon, votes to explore joining Idaho

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BURNS, Ore. — Another rural, conservative county in Oregon has expressed interest in becoming part of Idaho.

The OregonianLive reports that voters in Harney County on Tuesday approved a ballot measure which requires local officials to hold meetings about moving the county into Idaho. The measure passed with more than 63% of the vote. The unofficial results were: 1,567 for and 917 against.

Harney became the eighth of Oregon’s 36 counties to vote for considering adjusting Oregon’s border to put much of rural eastern and southern Oregon in Idaho.

“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,” said Mike McCarter, who heads Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, which is behind the initiatives.

These ballot initiatives are non-binding; the point of them, McCarter says, is to force Idaho’s and Oregon’s legislatures to take up the issue, which is highly unlikely.

If Idaho and Oregon were to negotiate a border adjustment, the U.S. Congress would have to sign off on it.

The other counties that have voted for a Move Oregon’s Border-backed initiative in the last two years: Baker, Grant, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Sherman and Union. Two small counties have voted against the border-moving idea.

Douglas and Klamath counties likely will be next to vote.

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