In a letter released today, South Dakota’s Governor and entire federal delegation called for an additional, earlier Presidential Debate to held in South Dakota this September.

South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman noted “When the debate calendar was created 30 years ago, as little as 5% of votes were cast by absentee ballot. Now, with early voting starting September 16 and COVID pushing more people to send in an absentee ballot, as many as 50 million voters will select their presidential candidate without having seen a debate.”

The letter as sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates follows:

In order to continue preserving fairness and transparency in this year’s presidential election, we are writing today to request that an additional, earlier debate be held in our home state of South Dakota this September.

As you are aware, presidential debates are a critical part of the electoral process. Unlike television ads or pre-written speeches, debates give Americans a firsthand look at each candidate’s own policies and intellect in an unscripted setting. They allow voters to hear the candidates’ platforms firsthand and give candidates the opportunity to respond to the tough questions at the forefront of every voter’s mind.

Unfortunately, by the time the first presidential debate happens on September 29, 2020, voters in South Dakota will have already started voting 11 days prior. South Dakotans who vote early deserve the same opportunity afforded to voters in other states, which is to hear the two competing visions for our country and make a well-informed decision when casting their vote at the ballot box – especially when one candidate has spent the duration of the campaign avoiding voters and questions from the press.

We must give voters a fair chance in an already unprecedented election, and we ask that you consider adding an additional, earlier debate in South Dakota this September. This monumental election will determine the very future of our nation. The least we can do is equip voters with the facts necessary to aid them in electing the next president of the United States.