Crook County Omits Pro Greater Idaho Arguments from Voter's Guide

May 06, 2024

Crook County Omits Pro-Greater Idaho Arguments from Voter's Guide

for immediate release. Contact: Matt McCaw 503-367-7065

Prineville -  Last week, voters in Crook County began receiving their printed Voter's Guide for the upcoming election in the mail. Missing from those guides were two pro Greater Idaho arguments.  The county has admitted that the submissions were made on time and that the error in printing was entirely the county's fault.

The Greater Idaho movement has asked the county to issue a supplemental page to the guide.  Leaders of the movement asked that the mailer be sent before ballots begin going out to voters, just as the voter's guide did.  The county declined to take that action, with Commissioners Brian Barney and Susan Hermreck arguing against the action.  Commissioner Seth Crawford voiced his support for sending a mailer, citing fairness and transparency as his key points. The board's discussion can be found at their youtube page,

"Through no fault of our own, our organization and it's supporters have had their political voice minimized and harmed," said Matt McCaw, Executive Director of the Greater Idaho movement.  "While we understand that mistakes happen, the county has a duty to treat everybody fairly, and where their errors have caused that to not happen, they should remedy the situation in a way that's acceptable to those who've been harmed.  This is a very important vote happening in Crook County, and mistakes made by the county can not be allowed to impact the results.  We continue to call on Crook County to mail a supplemental to voters so that our supporters get the same reach and voice that our opposition was given."

Crook County is voting this election on measure 7-86, which is an advisory question that asks voters if they want to pursue joining the state of Idaho.  Crook is the 13th eastern Oregon county to vote on the idea.  The other 12 counties in eastern Oregon who have voted have already passed Greater Idaho measures.

The arguments that were omitted are below.

There is a way to get better governance for central and eastern Oregon.  The current location of the Oregon/Idaho border was decided 165 years ago and is now outdated because it doesn’t match the location of the dividing line between the counties that prefer Idaho’s style of governance and counties that prefer Oregon’s style of governance.  However, state borders can be moved.  It happened in 1958, when the Oregon/ Washington border was moved slightly, and it could happen again if we vote yes on this measure to send a message to the state legislatures of Oregon and Idaho that Crook County wants to be included in any plans to make counties a part of Idaho.
As part of Idaho, our representatives would be a part of the ruling party.  80% of the Idaho legislature is Republican. That hasn’t changed in decades because the people moving into the state are about as conservative as the people who are already there, and are about as conservative as the people of Crook County.  The Idaho legislature is controlled by representatives from rural districts, who govern according to the concerns and priorities of rural counties.
Idaho laws and budgets are suited to rural economies and industries and Idaho approves projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment.  Oregon politicians don’t understand how we make a living. Their decisions damage industries like timber, mining, trucking, ranching and farming.  They want to remake the Oregon we’ve known our whole lives.  We want to preserve the values and way of life of old Oregon as a part of Idaho.
This May, the people of Crook County get the opportunity to send a loud and clear message to their elected leaders about who they trust more to preserve their heritage and protect their communities moving forward.  Please join us in voting yes on Greater Idaho, and securing a better future for our county.

Mike McCarter
President of Move Oregon’s Border

The right to choose our own government is a foundational principle of the United States.  It’s why we hold votes for government office, redistrict every ten years, and have an initiative system that allows voters to refer issues directly to the ballot. The goal of all of these systems is to get government that people actually want and that matches their values.  Unfortunately for those of us who make Crook County home, these systems have failed to deliver on those goals at the state level.
For decades, we in rural Oregon have been getting state government that we don't want and that we didn't vote for. This isn't an issue of apathy or lack of voter turnout, but rather math. The heavily populated Willamette Valley, and especially the Portland Metro area, has the numbers on their side, along with a radically different culture than those of us east of the Cascades. Because of those two factors, east-side Oregonians have little voice in their own state government, even less political power, and get a steady barrage of policies forced on us that we don’t want, and don’t reflect our community or values.
Our vote this May is a chance for the people of Crook County to have a say in which state governs us.  For once, we are being asked what WE want for our communities, not having policies forced on us by people with worldviews different than ours.  Rural Oregonians have been political minorities in our own state for long enough. I urge everyone to send a message to Salem, as well as our elected leaders across eastern Oregon, that we are ready for a change in state governance.   Make your voice heard, and please join me in voting yes on Greater Idaho.

Matt McCaw
Powell Butte