Secession Movement Still in Doubt in North Colorado

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Secession Movement Still in Doubt in North Colorado

Only five of the 11 rural Colorado counties considering secession approved the measure on November 5.

The future of the effort of several rural counties in Colorado to secede and form a new state is unclear now that the counties participating have split on the issue.

Election results from November 5 reveal that a majority of voters in five of the counties where the question was on the ballot approved the move, while citizens in six counties decided to stay in the Centennial State.

Washington, Phillips, Yuma, Kit Carson, and Cheyenne Counties voted leave the rest of the state and form the new state of North Colorado. Although they were included in the proposed “51st State,” voters in Weld, Logan, Sedgewick, Elbert, Lincoln, and Carson Counties decided to stay put. 

The ballot question put to voters in the relevant counties asked: "Shall the Board of County Commissioners of ______ County, in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?”

As is evident from the phrasing of the question, the five counties where secession was approved will not be able to immediately break political ties with Colorado. The positive vote simply authorizes county officials from those counties to “pursue” the route that would lead to secession.

Pursuit of that path would be quite a process. Besides majority approval of a county resolution calling for secession, Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution establishes the following method for carving a new state out of an existing one:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

If these counties somehow get over all these obstacles, North Colorado would become the first state since West Virginia did it in 1863.

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