27 Illinois Counties Have Voted to Split the State

Election results this morning show strong support for the idea of splitting Illinois into two states.  Voters approved referendums on the topic in Brown County by 77%, Hardin County by 76%, and two townships in Madison County (Lee 75% and New Douglas 68%).

This brings the total number of counties in southern and central Illinois to approve the measure to 27, according to a map released by organizers today. No counties have rejected the measure. The referendums are non-binding.  

The referendums ask voters “Shall the board of your county correspond with the boards of the other counties of Illinois outside of Cook County about the possibility of separating from Cook County to form a new state, and to seek admission to the Union as such, subject to the approval of the people?”

Earlier, Illinois state legislators introduced legislation regarding the idea, and were granted a hearing, but the bill failed to clear the legislative committee.  

State legislators in Kentucky and Missouri have expressed interest to the organizers about annexing downstate Illinois to their own state by moving a state border, but are waiting for a response from downstate Illinois state legislators.  

There would be financial benefits to northern Illinois to allow downstate Illinois to go, because these counties are a drain on the state budget. Yet, a financial comparison of rural Illinois counties to rural Indiana counties shows that incomes are the same. Apparently the beneficial effect of state spending that Illinois bestows on these counties is canceled out by the negative effect of Illinois taxes and regulation.

The most recent relocation of a state border was in 1999 when the Nebraska/Missouri border was adjusted slightly to accommodate changes in the course of a river, but two whole counties switched states after West Virginia became a state in 1863.

One thought on “27 Illinois Counties Have Voted to Split the State

  1. There has always existed a divide between northern and southern Illinois. Between 1860 and 1928, when the Republicans were the liberal party and the Democrats were the conservative party, one could take a look at which Illinois counties supported the Republicans and which Illinois counties supported the Democrats in the presidential elections, and draw a line from Hancock County in the west to Clark County in the east as indicating the divide between Republican counties in northern Illinois and Democratic counties in southern Illinois. Let us call this the Hancock-Clark line. Edgar County juts north of the line but has a similar voting pattern to Clark County; contrast with Douglas and Coles County right to the west of Edgar though, both which voted like Champaign County and the other northern counties in the same time period. The map above reflects the same dynamic: it is the counties south of the Hancock-Clark line in addition to Edgar County which have voted to secede from Illinois.

    For the above reason I don’t see counties north of the Hancock-Clark line like Platt, Mason, Douglas, Vermillion, Fulton, McDonough, or Henderson voting to secede to join Missouri or Kentucky: although in the modern day those rural counties are considerably different from Chicago when it comes to politics, most of those counties have more in common historically with Iowa, Wisconsin, or Indiana than Kentucky and Missouri when it comes to voting patterns – Republican between 1860 and 1928.

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