51st State Takes a Step Forward

4 rural Colorado counties will include ballot measure, 7 others considering it

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 20, 2013 8:48 AM CDT | Updated Aug 24, 2013 1:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – At least four rural Colorado counties will vote Nov. 5 on whether to make "Northern Colorado" the 51st state. Fed up with what they see as a lack of representation in Denver, Weld County this week became the largest county to get on board, after its commissioners voted to place the referendum on its fall ballot; Cheyenne, Sedgwick, and Yuma counties will do the same, the Washington Times reports. Voters will be asked whether they want their counties to "pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?" That state would potentially be composed of 11 counties—the other seven are still considering the referendum, ABC Denver reports. But a "yes" vote would still leave a number of hurdles to clear.

First, the state legislature would need to re-configure the borders in the state constitution; then, a majority in both houses of Congress would need to approve the move (the president's OK isn't needed, however). Experts think the chances of success are slim, though it's not without precedent: Maine broke off from Massachusetts in the 19th century, as West Virginia did from Virginia; but recent efforts in California, Washington, and New York to do the same have gone nowhere. There is one other possibility, per a 51st State Initiative rep: Wyoming could annex the counties. (Another possibility for 51st state: New Columbia.)

A picture of a Colorado field from the 51st State Initiative's Facebook page.
A picture of a Colorado field from the 51st State Initiative's Facebook page.   (Facebook)
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