The United States map could look a little different if the people who’ve signed a new Change.org petition get their way.
The goal: getting North and South Dakota to merge into one giant state called “MegaKota.”
The petition was posted on Sunday by Dillan Stewart, a 16-year-old from Mobile, Alabama, whose reasoning was simple:
“i think itd be pretty cool to have a state called MegaKota so yeah.
“oh yeah and then maybe Puerto Rico can be a state and we wont have to change our flag.”
Stewart had a different explanation, telling Lagniappe Weekly, “I thought it would be funny.”
As of Jan. 17, more than 17,000 people have signed the petition, and their reasons for doing so are vast and various.
“How can [it] be called the United States if some of our states are divided in half?” a person in Nebraska asked. Another supporter opined, “there’s literally zero difference” between the two states, so “might as well combine them.”
“I live here and would be proud to call myself a Megakotian,” Brookings, South Dakota resident Rifkin Fox told the Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
As you might expect, the proposed state merger inspired both positive and negative reactions from Twitter users.
Minnesota-based journalist David H. Montgomery notes that although the idea may have started as a joke, it actually could have merit.
MegaKota would instantly be the fourth-largest state by land area, the 37th-largest by its economy, and the sixth-biggest farm economy, just behind Minnesota, Montgomery said.
Such a change would, however, cost the Dakotas two of their current four U.S. senators.
A Change.org spokeswoman says the success of the petition will depend on getting enough signatures ― 500,000, she suggested ― to draw Donald Trump’s notice and inspire him to take action.
However, the president’s attention seems far more focused on the U.S.-Mexico border than on the one between the Dakotas.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Stewart is from Fargo, North Dakota, not Mobile, Alabama.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place