Most Oil Patch Voters Are Familiar Faces

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – Voter turnout is steady in Watford City, but oilfield workers and other new residents to the state are not among the voters.

Inspectors at three McKenzie County polling sites said they hadn’t seen any voters they didn’t recognize.

New residents of North Dakota who are living in RVs, hotels and man camps are eligible to vote if they’ve lived in the precinct for 30 days and meet the voter requirements. Voters who don’t have a current driver’s license or other form of identification can fill out a voter’s affidavit.

Inspector Brenda Lautenschlager of Watford City said no voters had filed affidavits as of early afternoon today.

Truck driver Al Toles, who has lived in Watford City for 31 years, said he voted because he owns property and has a vested interest in Measure 2, which, if approved, would eliminate property taxes. However, Toles said many of the truck drivers he works with who are new to North Dakota did not plan to vote.

Voter turnout for a rural Williston precinct was slower than election judge Michelle Stangeland had anticipated.

The turnout at that precinct also was primarily longtime residents, she said.

Some voters filled out affidavits, but they were voters who moved from one residence to another, not newcomers, Stangeland said.

The four initiated measures seemed to be attracting a steady stream of longtime Watford City residents to the polls. Absentee ballots in McKenzie County doubled since the last primary election.

Watford City resident Charlie Mosby said he always votes, but in this primary he was especially interested in voting no to Measure 2.

“It’s got to come from some place,” Mosby said, referring to state revenue.