Voting in the Oil Patch: Strong turnout expectedWILLISTON — Counties in northwest North Dakota expect strong voter turnout Tuesday, but officials aren’t sure how many workers living in RVs, hotels or crew camps will be among the voters.
By: Amy Dalrymple, The Dickinson Press
WILLISTON — Counties in northwest North Dakota expect strong voter turnout Tuesday, but officials aren’t sure how many workers living in RVs, hotels or crew camps will be among the voters.
McKenzie County Auditor Linda Svihovec said she’s talked to poll workers about how to handle voters who may not have traditional addresses but meet voter qualifications.
“An RV doesn’t mean that they’re not a valid voter,” Svihovec said.
Newcomers to North Dakota can vote if they’re U.S. citizens, are 18 or older, and have lived in the precinct for at least 30 days, said Secretary of State Al Jaeger.
Some workers who live in hotels or crew camps are truly temporary and still have a residence elsewhere, while others may consider the hotel their home.
“They can only have one residence,” Svihovec said.
In some cases, voters are going to have to make a choice about what they consider their permanent address, Jaeger said.
If voters do not have a form of identification such as a driver’s license with a current address or a utility bill, they can fill out a voter’s affidavit, which is a sworn statement.
Misrepresenting yourself on this document is a Class A misdemeanor subject to one year in jail or a $2,000 fine.
“Yes, they’re allowed to vote, but if it’s found out that they have falsely voted, there are consequences,” Jaeger said.
Jaeger and other county officials say they anticipate the presidential election in November will attract a lot more of the new workers than the June primary.
Josh Sutinen, who has been living in Epping and working in Williston for about two weeks, said he’d vote Tuesday if he could, but he thinks he’s the exception.
The 18-year-old from Longview, Wash., won’t meet the 30-day residency requirement for the primary, but he expects to vote in North Dakota this November.