The vote tallies are in!
The mid-term elections held on Tuesday (November 8th, 2022) included a few interesting county-level and state-level ballot propositions in several states. But in this article, I’ll be focusing on Oregon.
First, for some background, take a couple of minutes to read this article, from a liberal publication:
Gun laws, abortion, taxes: Why Eastern Oregon is voting to join Idaho.
The votes in favor of partitioning Oregon for attachment to Idaho passed easily in both Morrow County and Wheeler County. There are now 11 counties in central and eastern Oregon that have passed Greater Idaho ballot measures. Most of these propositions passed with 62% or more majorities. Before Tuesday’s vote, there were nine counties: Sherman, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Harney, Grant, Malheur, Baker, and Union. And now, Morrow (60% of the vote) and Wheeler (58% of the vote) counties have joined in.
More Western Oregon Gun-Grabbing
Another ballot measure on Tuesday was the statewide Oregon Ballot Measure 114. This is a horrible piece of anti-gun legislation. It would require a permit from the state government to simply possess any modern (post-1898) firearm – complete with fingerprinting, background checks, and mandatory training. Another provision of the law would completely ban any magazine holding more than 10 cartridges, with NO grandfather clause! As I’m writing this on the morning of November 10th, it appears that this measure passed with 50.9% of the vote. As usual, for Oregon, it is the more populous and liberal western counties that favored this ballot measure. The vote map shows that it was overwhelmingly opposed by folks in southwestern, central, and eastern Oregon, but sadly they are outnumbered by the state’s “wet-siders.”
In May of 2022, Douglas County and Josephine County voted against the Greater Idaho proposal. But with the presumed passage of Ballot Measure 114, it is likely another vote on Partition would fall the other way. In fact, I expect a petition to be circulated to re-test the Greater Idaho partition in Douglas and Josephine counties sometime in 2023 or 2024.
There are four more counties in central and eastern Oregon counties that need to vote on partition. There is already a vote scheduled in Wallowa County, in 2023. According to a Greater Idaho press release: “County clerks have refused to allow the movement gather signatures in Crook and Gilliam counties, and county commissioners in Crook, Gilliam, and Umatilla counties have not yet agreed to put an advisory question regarding the issue on the ballot. I predict that in the upcoming county-level Greater Idaho referendums, the passage of Ballot Measure 114 will be seen as “the last straw”, for eastern Oregonians. It will be evidence that the east and the west halves of the state have nothing in common. The “woke” politics that dominate the counties west of The Cascades have become a chronic illness. There will be no reconciling the differences between the wet and dry sides of Oregon. A partition is inevitable. The question is not “if”, but rather “when.”
Losing The Eastern Counties Won’t Mean a Loss of Revenue
One of the specious arguments often raised is that if the Eastern counties partition to Idaho, then it will mean a loss of income and property tax revenue for the state. But in fact, because there is a vast network of roads and bridges that need maintenance and repair, the eastern counties are actually subsidized by taxpayers in Oregon’s western counties. The net tax revenue is negative for the eastern counties!
The End Game
I see it as very likely that the Greater Idaho movement will eventually prevail. Politics and demographics make it almost inevitable. Idaho’s state legislature is very likely to approve it, but Oregons’ state legislators may drag their feet for a few years. They will fear the “loss of face” in losing so many counties, that together constitute 60% of Oregon’s land area. But at some point, most likely during an Oregon state budget crisis, they must relent. The final hurdle will be partition approval by the U.S. Congress. With prayer, I’m hopeful for a positive vote there. – JWR