Washington State Should Become One State Consisting of Two Totally Independent Districts

This proposal is different from secession because it does not affect the balance of power in the US Senate. It does not create a new state or increase the number of states.

The majority party in the Washington Legislature would be expected to be willing to let “low-income Trump-voting counties” out of their budgets and out of their district elections, as long as they are willing to share Washington’s US Senators.

The Washington state Constitution could be revised so that Washington would remain a single state for federal elections, but two states for state and local issues. Each district would have its own governor, legislature, law, taxes, budget, and courts. There would be no governance at the state level, only at the district level and below. They might be called the (Puget) Sound District and the Rural District. The proposed borders are shown in green above.

This proposal doesn’t prevent the later creation of a new state, it just bides time until conditions change to make that more likely to be approved. And creating district autonomy could be a stepping stone to statehood. 

The state Constitution has been amended 83 times since its inception (an average of once every 1.5 years). Article XXIII, Section 1 addresses the process of amending the Constitution and Section 2 deals with constitutional conventions. Amendments may be proposed in either branch of the legislature. The Legislature must approve the original proposal or an alternative to the proposed initiative with a 2/3 vote. The approved proposal is then placed on the ballot at the next state general election, and becomes law if approved by a majority of the electors. Since this is an issue internal to Washington, there is no need for approval from US Congress.

This proposal is based on an idea that was introduced as a bill in the New York State Legislature. The text of the New York bill is here: https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld&leg_video&bn=A05498&term=2019&Summary=Y&Text=Y

An article about the bill is here: https://nypost.com/2019/04/06/new-york-bill-proposes-splitting-empire-state-into-three-districts

Why the Washington State Legislature is Likely to Pass this Amendment
A January 2019 poll of those categorized as “liberal” or “very liberal”, living in the blue part of a state showed that showed that 2/3 were willing to let low-income Trump-voting counties in their state become a part of another state. Although this was an Illinois poll, we hope that a poll of Puget Sound District would yield similar results. Most legislators in the majority party in these states are more concerned about primary elections than general elections because they have safe seats, so it is liberal opinion that they follow.

Financial Reasons:
By letting relatively poor counties go, Washington’s per capita personal income becomes much higher: $6592 higher annually (according to our tabulation of US Bureau of Economic Analysis county data for 2017- see end of this document).  Making the average income higher by reducing the number of poor counties in the state would not directly increase a resident’s income, but it would help the state government’s finances to the point that the state could reduce tax rates, or at least reduce the budget deficit.  As Washington spends 8.73% of GDP on state expenditures, this increase of $6592 in per capita personal income should save Puget Sound $575 per person per year (not per wage earner or per household), or $48 per month.  How many Puget Sound residents are willing to pay $48 per month to prevent the state from splitting?

The state debt should be divided at the time of separation according to the population of each district.  Future budget deficits would be the responsibility of the district that incurred those deficits.  The state public employees pension funds should also be split. Current responsibilities of the public pension system should be divided between the districts, and new promises should be the responsibility of each district for each district’s state employees.

Political Reasons:
This proposal increases the power and sovereignty of both districts, because neither one will need to consult the other side of the state anymore. The population of Washington in 2017 was 7.4 million, and of Puget Sound District was 5.0 million (68% of Washington).

Update: our Facebook page was deleted by Facebook. Sorry.

The majority party in the Washington State Legislature will welcome the loss of Trump votes in their state legislature. Washington State has 1.43 Hillary voters per Trump voter, but Puget Sound District has 1.92. Washington State voted for Hillary 53% to 39%, but the Sound District voted 61% to 32% for Hillary according to our county-by-county tabulation (see end of document). By this measure, the Puget Sound district is more anti-Trump than every state except California and Hawaii. But currently Washington state is less anti-Trump than Illinois, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts or New York.

This proposal would have no effect on the US Senate, the US House, or electoral votes for president because the state would remain united for these elections.

Reasons of Harmony and Civility:
The Rural District has always had much different values than the Puget Sound District. Allowing them to have separate governance will reduce the partisanship in Washington. County sheriffs in the Rural District have vowed that they will not enforce gun control law I-1639. More gun control is surely coming now that progressives have more control in the legislature. A recent Reuters poll shows that one third of Americans expect civil war in America within the next five years. Allowing this state split reduces the chance of unrest and makes these states more harmonious ideologically.

The Puget Sound District is not downstream of the Rural District. The borders of the districts follow watershed boundaries.

Vote count:
In the Washington (state) House of Representatives, 28% of the representatives are Republicans from the Rural District. 53% are Democrats from the Sound District. In total, they are 81% of the House. In order to pass a Constitutional amendment with 2/3 of the House (66 out of 98 votes), we need only 83.5% of that 81%.

In the Washington Senate, 27% of the representatives are Republicans from the Rural District. 53% are Democrats from the Sound District. In total, they are 80% of the House. In order to pass a Constitutional amendment with 2/3 of the Senate (33 out of 49 votes), we need only 85% of that 80%.

As for the approval by the public, in 2017 Washington state representative Matt Shea said “Liberty State is hugely popular; of over 10,000 polled there is 74% in eastern Washington.” www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/26210-is-proposed-state-of-liberty-constitutional. If 74% of the Rural District votes for this constitutional amendment, and turnout in both districts is equal, then only 39% of Puget Sound voters would be needed to pass it.

Why Rural District State Legislators and Voters are Likely to Vote for this Amendment

Financial Reasons:
The economy of the Rural District, neglected by Olympia, would improve dramatically freed of Olympia’s state laws and regulations, unfunded mandates, and taxes. Rural District laws and court systems would be designed for its rural economy: business-friendly, and suitable to logging, mining, and agriculture. This would increase employment and demand for labor. Welfare programs would be pro-work.

The improved economy and the gun rights (being more conducive to rural living) would increase the value of land as more people would want to move in.

Cost of living would decrease under the future laws of the Rural District because red states have less demanding laws and regulations on home building and businesses. According to the Missouri Dept. of Economic Development, Washington’s 2018 cost of living was 16% higher than Idaho’s, for example.

Most states (such as Oregon, Illinois, and California) spend far more money on state employment (per capita) in poor counties than in wealthy counties for multiple reasons: to spread the wealth around, to save money by putting employment where wages (and cost of living) are lower, and because rural counties have more roads and parks per capita. It seems fair to send some employment to rural counties in return for the fact that rural counties send their college-educated, highest-earning citizens to the big city.  This partially compensates for the amount of tax base that the big city takes from the rural counties. 

But Washington does the opposite. Washington actually spends less per capita on state employment in Rural District than it does in Puget Sound.  Washington spends more than twice as much per capita in Puget Sound ($1959/year per capita) than in Rural District ($950/year per capita) on state employment, according to US Bureau of Economic Analysis data we tabulated (see end of document).

It is alleged that eastern Washington gets more money from the state than it gives. Yet many of eastern Washington didn’t ask for a welfare state and don’t get any welfare. They would prefer to work than be paid to accept oppression. They want state law to stop holding back the rural economy.

The Rural District would be like Idaho: not wealthy, but sustainable. Living within its means with dignity, traditional morality, and liberty.

Political Reasons:

Washington as a whole will not become a red state again.  In 2016, there were 1.43 Hillary voters per Trump voter, and Californians move in faster than conservatives could possibly persuade them to change their voting patterns.

The Rural district would have more local control, because state law would be made by a district of 2.4 million rather than a state of 7.4 million.

Splitting the state allows the Rural District to preserve traditional values and liberty.  This includes gun rights, water rights, religious liberty, parental rights, etc. The rural district had 1.35 Trump voters per Hillary voter, and 1.23 Romney voters per Obama voter.

If Washington splits, California liberals would be less likely to move there and California conservatives would be more likely to move there.

This poll was shared in various Facebook groups in the Rural District : 0

Next Steps

The writing of this document is intended to encourage you to create an organization to be called “Split Washington State”.  We don’t live in Washington, so we need you to become an activist to promote this idea. 

First, share the message of this proposal by creating memes and sharing in Facebook, Facebook groups, and Instagram.  This is important because legislators tend to follow public opinion rather than leading public opinion.   For publicity and momentum, you can also ask your county council to put a non-binding question on the county ballot asking voters if they would like the state to be split into two districts. 

You can attend county fairs and other public events to publicize this with a sign, a t-shirt,  brochures, or even a table. You can design stickers for your car.

Next, contact Republican state legislators in southern and eastern Washington and ask them to read this proposal and then explain it to the Democrat state leadership.  If you live in their district, give them your address to prove it. Call them, send Facebook messages, email them, and ask to meet with them. You can contact more than just your own legislators.  We hope that they can work with Puget Sound Democrats to introduce a bipartisan constitutional amendment.  Next, contact any Democrat state legislator in the Puget Sound District to explain the idea. 

Send them a link to this proposal.

Let us know by email or private message what legislators say to you about the idea.

Find your legislator (but reach out to others too): https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

Call all representatives: http://leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/pages/default.aspx
Call all senators: http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Senators/Pages/default.aspx

Why Grays Harbor County and Okanogan County are Split:

The following map shows the precinct map of the 2016 presidential election. Northwestern Grays Harbor County voted Democrat. It contains an AmerIndian reservation. Northeastern Grays Harbor County also voted Democrat, so we decided that both should both should be included with the Puget Sound District. The Northwestern portion of Okanogan County is well connected to the Puget Sound by state highway 20. Some precincts are white or grey because of lack of data. Counties are creations of the state and, historically, have often been split by acts of state legislatures. Legally, no approval from the counties involved is necessary.

Washington Counties are Unlikely to Become a Part of Idaho

Idaho would not be willing to accept eastern Washington as a part of Idaho because eastern Washington is not as conservative as Idaho, except the southeastern corner of the state, from Waitsburg to Uniontown.  If you are interested in that corner of the state, join the Greater Idaho movement.

There are only two other counties in Washington that are a reasonable candidate for joining Idaho: Stevens and Pend Oreille, which form the northeastern corner of Washington. These counties are divided from the rest of Washington by rivers.  When averaged together, they are more conservative than Idaho and contiguous with Idaho.  Unfortunately, their per capita personal income in 2017 was only 90% of Idaho’s.  We believe that Idaho would be unwilling to take these counties for that reason.

For that study, to judge conservatism of a county, we added together votes for Trump, Libertarians, and McMullin in 2016, and Romney and Libertarians in 2012.  Mormon conservative McMullin and the Libertarian Party did well in Idaho (6.7% and 4.1%) in 2016, probably because Trump’s victory was assured in that state anyway. 

There are 6 counties in Washington that are more conservative than Idaho: Stevens, Lincoln, Grant, Adams, Columbia, and Garfield. None of these counties are contiguous with Idaho.  Four counties along Washington’s eastern edge are not as conservative as Idaho.  Those four counties are populous enough to prevent the creation of any other group of counties (besides Stevens-Pend Oreille) that is both contiguous with Idaho and more conservative than Idaho, and reasonably compact in shape. 

Why was Southwestern Washington included in the Rural District?

Pollsters and social scientists have shown that ideology (partisanship) is more strongly held and more decisive to Americans when judging others than religion, race, or other factors.  Today, freeways connect southwestern Washington closely to eastern Washington. 

Puget Sound District has plenty of ports.  The Rural District should have some too. Grays Harbor is a deep-water port able to handle ships of any length. In the future, if red states and blue states ever become separate countries, the Rural District will be glad that it has these ports so that it will not be dependent on a foreign country for access to the Pacific.  Without Grays Harbor County or Pacific County, a foreign country could embargo, shut down flights to the Pacific, and preclude any navy.

Southwestern Washington does not make the Rural District significantly less conservative, and it does have a 10% higher average income than eastern Washington.   Removing Grays Harbor County and Pacific County from the Rural District would not noticeably affect the conservatism of the District.


For background information, visit the site for splitting New York State, where we got our inspiration. They have more details. https://www.newamsterdamny.org/

Revised Nov 8, 2019, to include complete election results.
revised 2022 to delete references to Facebook pages.

3 thoughts on “Washington State Should Become One State Consisting of Two Totally Independent Districts

  1. This has to happen
    A better short term answer, until we can get the state split for federal also
    Our votes in E. Wash at this time truly don’t count

  2. I agree with spltting Wa. State. Reason being the east side of state seems to not ever be recognized in elections, because of the large population on west coast, which tend to be the extremely liberal voters of democrat party.. voting and representation of our state on the east side of cascades lacks the leadership thru Inslee..our votes should count. Splitting the state will allow all votes count

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