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Questions and answers about 51st state vote

10:06 PM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - On Tuesday, Colorado voters in 11 counties will decide whether they want to pursue the formation of a 51st state.

9NEWS asked Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway what might happen depending on the votes.

Question: What if all 11 counties vote to purse a 51st state?

"A loud message has been sent to Denver," Conway said.

He says the next step would be to put the question before all Colorado voters in 2014.

Question: What happens if some of the counties vote to pursue, but others do not?

"Well, I think we're going to have to look at that. It has to be viable. If we've got a patchwork of counties that are not contiguous, then obviously we don't meet the basic test," Conway said.

Moffat County, in northwest Colorado, would already be excluded since it's so far away from the cluster in northeast Colorado. However, it is one of the eleven counties voting on the 51st state on Tuesday.

Question: What if all voters say no?

"If the voters tomorrow say we're not interested in going down this path, you respect the will of the voters," Conway said.

He notes there is a completely separate plan in the works, a plan perhaps more viable, though it too would require a constitutional amendment.

The plan, brought forth by Phillips county commissioners, would be to bring more representation to rural counties by giving those counties more bodies in the state senate.

The plan would be based on the United States Senate model, says Conway, which honors area, not population.

"There is some discussion that this re-organizing the Colorado State Senate would be unconstitutional under the Voting Rights Act of 1964," Conway said, though he thinks a court challenge would be successful.

University of Northern Colorado political science professor emeritus Steve Mazurana isn't so sure.

"The Supreme Court basically argues it's one person, one vote," Mazurana said.

He says the state senate plan would face legal hurdles.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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