Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and Sherman counties voted on Tuesday in support of considering becoming part of a new state.
A grassroots group, Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, hopes to move mostly rural eastern and southern counties and some northern counties in California into Idaho, The Oregonian reported.
They’re hoping the county initiative votes will put pressure on government officials to meet and consider relocating their border in the name of seeking “political refuge from blue states”.
“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” lead petitioner Mike McCarter told the newspaper in a statement.
He added: “If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will.
The petitioner argued that if the counties are allowed to vote for their government officials, they should be allowed to vote for which government they want to.
Most counties voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motions, which generally proposed meeting “to discuss relocating the Idaho border.”
Grant voted 1,471 to 895 while Lake voted 1,341 to 463, the newspaper said. Malheur’s vote was one of the closest with 3,050 votes to 2,572 while Baker sat overwhelmingly at 3,064 to 2,307.
If the move went ahead it would put up 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties in Idaho, but the effort has been hampered in the last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the movement still faces an uphill battle.
However, the idea is gaining more attention in the state, with Idaho’s Republican governor Brad Little having expressed support for the concept.
"I understand why many people want to be Idahoans," Mr Little said in a statement, according to FOX 12. "They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere, and our values.”
He added: “Still, the decision to change Idaho and Oregon’s borders would need to go through both states’ legislatures and the US Congress for approval. There’s a lot that needs to happen before the border is within the realm of possibility."