May 29th, 2020
The South Dakota Republican Party announced today that the 2020 Republican State Convention
is changing format due to the predicted size of the gathering, and will instead be held electronically to ensure safe social distancing as a result of the Chinese Coronavirus.
The South Dakota Republican State Convention will be held on June 20th, starting at 10 AM Central Time. The Republican Party will be utilizing an electronic system to record votes by Voatz, a for-profit, private mobile election voting application which was successfully used this year for Republican Conventions in Utah and Arizona. Ellie Highstreet, 2020 Republican State Convention Planner indicated “We have been working diligently with our partners to deliver the best experience for an electronic 2020 Republican State Convention for attendees. Although it will look different, the purpose remains the same, to connect and conduct business for the South Dakota Republican Party.”
Nimit Sawhney, Co-Founder, and CEO of the company notes “Voatz is proud to partner with the South Dakota Republican Party to securely enable their delegates to vote, while keeping them safe and able to celebrate the spirit of the convention during this uncertain time. Voatz is excited to replicate the successes we’ve seen in the Utah and Arizona Republican Party Conventions, where record numbers of delegates submitted their votes seamlessly. More than 80% of the delegates in Utah expressed a positive experience at the all virtual convention, and only 13% prefer returning to the traditional, in-person experience. We hope for an even better experience for South Dakota Republican Party delegates, where voters in the state will, for the first time, be able to vote through a mobile app in an election.”
Voatz is a mobile elections platform that enables voters to verify their identity and vote without needing to be physically present at a polling place or mailing in a ballot. The South Dakota Republican Party chose Voatz as the mobile platform for its virtual convention after clear demonstrations that Voatz could handle the dynamic nature of the convention and the potential for runoff rounds of voting. The platform will allow delegates to vote securely, privately, and electronically through their mobile phones. Voatz helps to make the voting process safe and verifiable for delegates and candidates. Click here to see the SDGOP Voatz landing page for more details.
Chairman Dan Lederman noted that State Republican party bylaws were recently changed and filed with the Secretary of State to allow for the convention to take place in this manner for 2020. “With the unique situation this year with the coronavirus, we will be operating with a skeleton crew at our headquarters in Sioux Falls (212 S Main) and at a satellite location in Rapid City for people to gather if they choose. Otherwise, all voting will be electronic.”
Lederman noted that the most significant changes will be in pre-filing party resolutions before June 5th, and providing written notice of intent for candidate nominations for Public Utilities Commission, National Committeeman, and National Committeewoman by June 15th so the voting system may be set up.
The Republican Party will be posting more information with regards to the convention on it’s website at SouthDakotaGop.com
, but Lederman wished to communicate that “the party is confident that the convention can happen electronically,” and that “the rules of order to conduct the convention in this manner are temporary.”