Issue: First MegaKota, now this?


Editorial Board

Rep. Jeremy Munson (MN-R) recently suggested a proposal to allow counties of Minnesota to leave the state and join South Dakota. 

The proposal, largely promoted on Twitter, has almost no chance of becoming a reality, so why would anyone pay any attention?

Though we won’t be seeing a horde of Minnesota counties joining the state, let’s take a minute to examine what this would mean. 

The reasoning behind this move is largely to highlight the political divide, especially between rural and urban areas. 

The more rural portions of Minnesota, which lean Republican, joining a conservative stronghold state such as South Dakota further demonstrates the political turmoil the country is facing. Rather than looking for issues to collaborate on, state representatives are looking to just leave a state in which the opposition party holds a majority. 

Aside from state politics, a merger like this would have major implications nation-wide. Congressional representation would be a first issue. Minnesota currently has 10 electoral votes in the Electoral College. South Dakota has three. If Minnesota seceded the 64 counties, which have around 1.6 million people, how many electoral votes would each state now have? How many House of Representative or Senate seats would Minnesota lose and South Dakota gain?

If the reason is purely political, as Munson has stated, why doesn’t Minnesota just split their electoral votes like Nebraska and Maine? That way, conservatives in Minnesota would feel more represented and less out-numbered in their government and not have to redraw state lines, phase in different state policies and rework both state legislatures. 

Politics aside, 1.6 million people who would be seceding to South Dakota would have countless small logistical adjustments to make once they become part of South Dakota. The ex-Minnesotans would no longer need to pay for state taxes, but South Dakota has a retail tax they would need to adhere to. This could seriously hurt businesses who have been operating under Minnesota law. 

First it was a 2019 petition to combine North and South Dakota to make MegaKota, and now lawmakers want South Dakota to absorb over half  of Minnesota. Just leave South Dakota borders alone so we can focus on fixing the flaws in our own government before adding over a million people to the state. Plus, the shape of the new states look completely absurd. 

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.