Of 11 Colorado counties voting on the question, six—Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma—voted "yes" to consider becoming the 51st state. The ballot measure asked whether county commissioners should "pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America." The most populous county addressing the issue turned the idea down, 58% to 42%, in what ABC 7 calls "a sharp rebuke of commissioners" at the forefront of the effort. "Weld County voters said this is an option we shouldn't pursue, and we won't pursue it," said one. "But we will continue to look at the problems of the urban and rural divide in this state."
The issue centers on that divide, the Denver Post notes, with new laws—including tougher gun and renewable energy measures—frustrating some in the 51st state movement. "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," says backer Jeff Hare. But it's a long shot, requiring state and US congressional approval. Still, Hare says the movement has left a mark: Next year, "people running for office ... must have good information about the urban vs. rural divide." (Read more Colorado stories.)