ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. - Elbert County became the 10th Colorado county to approve a ballot initiative asking voters if they should seek to separate from Colorado and create a 51st state.
At a county commissioners meeting on Wednesday morning, the board approved 3-0, to put an initiative on the ballot.
"We are very frustrated as rural Coloradoans with the unfunded mandates and the mandates and the things that are coming, we feel, from the state legislature, as well as the Federal government," said Elbert County Commissioner chairman Robert Roland. "When we don't have the voice and the respect, if you will, from our legislators and our Governor, then I think, people begin to look for ways to express that frustration."
The board agenda never stated specifically that the 51st state initiative would be up for discussion. One of the new items on the agenda was for "ballot language approval."
"This was not a way to sneak it by without people knowing?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.
"Oh, no, no. As a matter of fact, I think if we hadn't put it on the agenda today or next week, the cry would have been louder for not having done it," said Rowland. "I got more emails and input from my citizens as a commissioner on this single issue."
According to the 51st State Initiative website, 10 counties have already approved initiatives for voters to decide on in November.
According to the site, the counties that will be voting on the issue include:
"It really doesn't cost our county anything more, we've got other ballot initiatives on the ballot this November as well," said Rowland.
The ballot initiative asks voters to give the counties permission to try to become a 51st state.
The state legislature would have to approve, the state Constitution would have to be amended and Congress would have to approve.
"I think that there's a lot of folks, that's surprising in number, that you'll find that are serious about this," said Rowland. "It's a pretty simple option to put something on the ballot and let the people vote."
Rowland said he heard concern from one constituent at the meeting on Wednesday.
A real estate agent suggested home values could decrease and homebuyers would be scared away knowing the county could become a different state.