Elections

Will this Southern Illinois county join a new 51st state? Voters will get their say

A county board in Southern Illinois will consider allowing its residents to vote on secession from the state.

WJBD reported recently the Marion County Board will decide if they should leave Illinois and join a new 51st state.

Chad Hays, of the Illinois Separation Organization, told the radio station 632 people signed a petition requesting a secession vote.

“What I presented tonight was to split Cook County up with the rest of the 101 counties and form a new Illinois with 101 counties and completely do away with Cook County,” Hays said, according to the radio station.

The proposal was forwarded by the Marion County Community Relations Committee with no recommendation one way or the other, though it did conclude that the county could not be “self-sufficient.”

If approved by full Marion County Board, which meets next week, the referendum would appear on the November 2020 ballot.

The reasons given for wanting to secede range from Second Amendment concern to taxation and abortion rights. Just Wednesday, Planned Parenthood announced a new facility hoped to be a hub for abortion access in the region in Fairview Heights.

According to the radio station, Effingham and Jefferson County also have approved a similar vote.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost told the Belleville News-Democrat secession from the state is unlikely due to the many steps it takes. However, he said, a vote sends a message to Springfield about underrepresentation in Southern Illinois.

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Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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