Skip to contents
Politics and Government

Weld County residents propose leaving Colorado again, this time to join Wyoming

A similar idea proposed in 2013 aimed to form a new state with several northern Colorado counties. It failed.

An oil well pumpjack in a farm field in Weld County against the backdrop of the Front Range on June 5, 2020. (Andy Colwell, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Residents have launched an effort to get a measure on the November ballot that would explore a Colorado county becoming part of Wyoming.

A Colorado campaign finance disclosure website showed that Christopher Richards registered political committee Weld County Wyoming last February, KDVR-TV reported. Its pushing a ballot measure that would instruct Weld County commissioners to engage and explore the annexation with Wyoming.

The county just east of Fort Collins has a population of more than 324,000 people.

Richards said during a November meeting that he got the idea in 2019 after reading an opinion article in The Denver Post and began pursuing the idea through a Facebook page.

“We’re going to move a county to a different state,” he said, adding that the effort would just redraw the state lines to exclude Weld County from Colorado and include it within Wyoming borders instead.

Someone else at the meeting, which was posted online, said Colorado “is at war with three major economic drivers for Weld County: small businesses, agriculture, and oil and gas.”

Officials in Colorado pushed back on the idea.

“I absolutely love living in Colorado. For those that don’t love living here, there are certainly less ridiculous ways of moving to Wyoming,” Greeley City Council member Tommy Butler told KDVR-TV.

Erie Mayor Jennifer Carroll said if the proposal makes it on the ballot, residents would have much to consider and it could be a long process.

“There are a lot of consideration(s) for Weld County voters if they want to secede to Wyoming: income tax, personal property tax, corporate state income tax, retirement income tax, gas tax, severance taxes on oil and gas, and water rights to name a few,” Carroll said in a statement. “If Weld County residents approve the ballot question, the Colorado legislature has to approve it, the Wyoming legislature has to approve it, and it’s possible both Colorado voters and Congress will need to approve it as well.”

A similar idea proposed in 2013 aimed to form a new state with several northern Colorado counties but failed. It passed in five of the 11 Colorado counties where it appeared on the ballot.