The Greater Idaho Movement cemented its win in Wallowa County, Oregon, and won ballot placement in another Oregon county. But the Oregon Secretary of State refuses to investigate allegations of campaign finance violations by Greater Idaho’s opponents. That last could put Greater Idaho at a disadvantage as it tries to secure Yes votes in remaining eastern counties.
Where Greater Idaho now stands
On May 16, 2023, voters in Wallowa County voted on Measure 32-007, to mandate that the County Commission meet twice a year to consider moving the Idaho-Oregon border and what that would mean to Wallowa residents. Wallowa County is the northeastern corner of Oregon and thus borders Idaho and Washington State. By a final vote of 1,752 to 1,745, with six uncured ballots remaining uncured past the deadline, the measure passed. Because the Yes votes exceeded the No votes by more than 0.2 percent of the total vote, a recount will not take place.
The Wallowa County Clerk so stated on Wednesday, June 7, according to this Greater Idaho press release.
Separately the Crook County Court voted, also on June 7, to place a public question on their ballot concerning moving the border.
Should Crook County represent that its citizens support efforts to move the Idaho state border to include Crook County?
County officials represent this as a “non-binding, advisory question.” Crook County borders Jefferson, Deschutes, Harney, Grant and Wheeler Counties and lies entirely to the east of the Greater Idaho proposed dividing line along the Cascade Mountains. Thus moving the Idaho border to that line would include Crook County in its entirety. The Court voted in favor of placing this question on the ballot in May 2024. (See this press release.)
With their victory in Wallowa County, Greater Idaho counts twelve counties that have voted to join Idaho. Crook County would be the thirteenth.
Cleared of an accusation
Greater Idaho scored another, seemingly minor victory on June 7. Station KOIN-TV (Channel 6, CBS, Portland, Ore.) saw fit to highlight an “undue influence” complaint against the movement. As the deadline for ballot curing approached, a movement member sent an internal email outlining a strategy for a campaign to avoid a recount. Allegedly the campaign would involve encouraging voters to cure their ballots if they were voting Yes. Someone shared that email with the Oregon Division of Elections.
But according to the Wallowa County Chieftain, the Oregon Board of Elections found “no cause to open an investigation.”
In a statement, the movement protested the apparent double standard in KOIN’s reportage. During its campaign in Wallowa County, the movement discovered a “Can’t afford Idaho” campaign rivaling theirs. The problem: none of the campaign materials displayed any markings crediting those financing the campaign. Movement volunteers traced the funds to the Western States Center, a group promoting generally leftist values. Because Western States Center never registered with the Oregon Elections Division as campaign financiers, Greater Idaho complained to the Secretary of State alleging a campaign finance violation. (See their articles here and here.) So Greater Idaho wondered why KOIN highlighted the internal email while ignoring the overt evidence of campaign finance violations.
It’s ridiculous that KOIN published an hit piece about our normal campaign activity but never published an article about the real crimes of our opponents: the well-funded professional social justice warriors ignoring every campaign finance law to secretly meddle in an eastern Oregon ballot measure.
Western States Center activities are still under investigation, Greater Idaho confirmed to CNAV today.
And the campaign continues
In other news, Greater Idaho finds itself the target of an interesting rhetorical broadside. They state that to prefer Idaho to Oregon as a State government is evidence of hate. The movement countered with a “hate map” from the Southern Poverty Law Center. That map shows two groups east of the Cascades, and an untold number to the west.
Crook County Judge Seth Crawford gave an interview to KTVZ-TV (Channel 21, NBC, Bend, Ore.). He pointed out that the County Court voted unanimously to put the border movement question on the ballot. Not only that, but they would have done it sooner, if not for a last-minute injunction.
Note that Klamath and Jefferson Counties have some lands west of the dividing line, though most of their lands lie east of it. Wasco and Deschutes Counties would probably divide about fifty-fifty.
Notice of correction
A previous version of this article implied that the Oregon SoS was refusing to investigate Western States Center. CNAV regrets having misread both the Wallowa State Chieftain article and the Greater Idaho statement. CNAV acknowledges that in fact Greater Idaho scored significant wins on three fronts.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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