One third of the oil produced in North Dakota comes from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Whoever wins the election for tribal chairman will have a lot of tough decisions to make about how to regulate oil development and make sure everyone benefits from the boom.
North Dakota has always been a friendly, easy place to vote. It is the only state in the country without voter registration, and precincts are small enough that poll volunteers often recognize people who come through the door. “It’s kinda like a reunion,” said Bonnie Fix, who’s been working elections here since 2001. “Kinda like a family picnic.” Running for office in North Dakota has historically been equally low-key–and low budget, with winning candidates for state offices raising less than a few thousand dollars each. But the oil boom has changed all that.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting