Rural Colorado Votes in Favor of Secession

Five counties could create 51st state

News Outside Online

Rural Colorado barn     Photo: chedder/Flickr

Five rural Colorado counties voted in favor of secession in Tuesday's polls. The ballot question, which appeared in 11 Colorado counties, asked voters if their county commissioners should take action to secede from the state, according to The Denver Post. While unlikely, if this gathering of counties were to secede, a 51st state would be created in northern Colorado.

The five counties that voted in favor of the 51st state include Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Phillips, Yuma, and Washington County. Although many are resigned to the fact that secession will fail, they hope the publicity will draw attention to rural Colorado's grievances. Many of the rural-county voters were not in favor of stronger gun laws and new renewable-energy standards.

"The heart of the 51st State Initiative is simple: We just want to be left alone to live our lives without heavy-handed restrictions from the state Capitol," 51st state advocate Jeffrey Hare told The Denver Post.

Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, responded to the voting in a statement to 9News.

Rural communities are hurting, but it's not because of background checks on guns sales, civil unions for gay people or expanded renewable energy. In fact, these are popular proposals across communities large and small. The same is true of our efforts to protect water for agricultural uses, expand broadband into rural areas, and promote tourism and economic diversity across the state.

A state has not successfully seceded since Maine split from Massachusetts in 1820.

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