The local officials who support forming a 51st state – North Colorado – have been holding meetings (pdf) this month to talk it over with local voters. Press reports show the idea has gotten support at most, but not all, the meetings.
Organizer Jeffery Hare, a member of the Weld County Council, tells us today that the 51st State Initiative has just gotten nonprofit status as a 501(c)(4). They’re hoping to get nonbinding referendums about secession on the ballot in Colorado counties for November. On the map above, the green county has already slated the question for the ballot. Yellow counties are gathering signatures. Blue counties has shown “some support.” The white counties across the state line have gotten in touch.
Under the U.S. Constitution, breakaway states would first need the support of their legislatures, then the Congress. Despite the seeming impossibility of achieving that, Hare says he has begun to hear from rural groups in other states that are also feeling disenfranchised. Outside interest started with Nebraska, Kansas and (adding) New Mexico, but he says he is getting calls from western Maryland and upstate New York:
There could be multiple states that end up petitioning Congress at the same time. People always say how do we get this through Congress? And the answer is that we may not be the only group.
Hare adds that liberal groups in red states might also be feeling disenfranchised enough to want to secede. Given that he describes his 51st state values as including strong gun rights and opposition to abortion, the blue dots in red states might need a 52nd state.
Above, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer testifies last week about the rural-urban divide. She mentions an alternate plan to give rural Coloradans more power in the state legislature; ColoradoPols runs the math on that.