Secession petition falls short in Morgan County; Issue won't be on ballot

FORT MORGAN, Colo. - A proposal to secede from Colorado has run into trouble in Morgan County.

The Fort Morgan Times reports that backers only turned in about 900 signatures by Monday's deadline, less than the 2,300 signatures county commissioners set as the threshold to put the 51st state measure on the ballot.

Commissioner Jim Zwetzig said Tuesday that next steps are unclear, but commissioners will likely discuss it next week. They are scheduled to meet Sept. 3.

Commission chairwoman Laura Teague has said secession would be costly for the agricultural county. She said water rights would be challenged, hurting farmers and ranchers.

Morgan County is surrounded by three counties where the issue will be on the ballot -- Weld, Logan and Washington counties.  Phillips, Sedgwick, Cheyenne and Yuma counties had already approved secession ballot questions.

Frustration with the Colorado legislature's decisions on gun control, oil industry regulations and an increase in alternative energy requirements were mentioned by the Weld commissioners when they announced the bid for secession in early June.

Morgan County commissioners had said for the question to be on the ballot, about 15 percent of the registered voters in Morgan County had to sign off.

Read more from the Fort Morgan Times.