It may be easier said than done. The rules for creating new states are outlined in Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which require the approval of the existing state’s legislature and Congress.
Each upstart county plans to let its residents’ vote on the idea, which Rademacher said they want to do at the first opportunity, even though the deadline for questions to appear on the November ballot is Aug. 1.
If the votes pass, the legislature and the governor would then have to petition Congress to allow for the formation of a new state. Rademacher thinks getting the legislature to do so will be the biggest hurdle.
“I don’t think they’ll let us go,” he said, pointing to the region’s rich oil and gas deposits and the agricultural industry that contributes substantially to Colorado’s economy.
U.S. history is filled with failed attempts at new states. According to the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Constitution Center, it’s been tried at least 75 times and been successful only five — Vermont split from New York, Kentucky from Virginia, Tennessee from North Carolina, Maine from Massachusetts, and West Virginia from Virginia.
The most recent attempt to form a new state was in 2011, when residents of Pima County, Ariz., tried to break out on their own to distance themselves from the politics of Maricopa County.
Rademacher said he’s heard from non-contiguous counties in Colorado about if and how they could also join the effort. But he said the territory of wannabe North Colorado at least has to share a border with other breakaway-minded counties.
“We can’t build a highway to heaven,” he said.
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