Two Oregon residents are attempting to ratchet up enough support in the state to try to secede from the U.S. following the rise of President-elect Donald Trump to the highest office in the country.
Jennifer Rollins and Christian Trejbal on Thursday filed a petition for a 2018 ballot initiative to have Oregon peacefully leave America, The Oregonian reported. "Oregonian values are no longer the values held by the rest of the United States," Trejbal told the newspaper.
The pair, unhappy with Tuesday’s election results, need 1,000 signatures before the measure is even considered. Regardless of whether they meet their mandated target, they have a near-zero chance of success, constitutional experts say.
Several petitions seeking secessions have been filed after previous elections, including one in Oregon in 2012 when President Barack Obama was first elected.
Bill Funk, a constitutional law professor at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, told KPTV at the time that those who file such long-shot attempts mostly just want attention. He said it’s not in the president’s power under the U.S. Constitution to let a state secede. That would require amending the Constitution—a feat rarely and not easily accomplished, according to the Washington Post.
Rollins and Trejbal’s petition urges the state governor and legislature to “actively pursue” Oregon’s secession from the U.S. If petitioners in Oregon gather the required amount of signatures, the initiative is placed on the ballot for voters in the state to adopt or reject, according to the state's policy on the matter.
However, Oregon’s ballot initiative process allows people only to propose laws or amendments to its own state Constitution.
About 41% of Oregon voters cast their ballots for Trump, preliminary results showed.