SDGOP State Convention Recap

The South Dakota Republican Party held their virtual convention this past weekend on Saturday June 20th. Delegates participated via videoconference and voted through the Voatz application.

The convention brought together 201 Delegates from 31 counties. Guests, Delegates, and sponsors attended  the convention and heard from Senator Mike Rounds, Governor Noem, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Congresswoman Dusty Johnson.

Commissioner Gary Hanson was unanimously nominated as the Republican candidate for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Saturday. Hanson is the current chair of the PUC and was first elected in 2002.

Delegates re-elected Ried Holien and Sandye Kading to continue their work as RNC National Committeeman and National Committeewoman.

The Resolutions Committee chaired by Ed Randazzo of Rapid City put forth eight resolutions. The issues ranged from honoring Codington County activist Judy Tryznka with a lifetime achievement award and supporting Governor Noem’s handling of the COVID pandemic.

A resolution supporting the recognition of Juneteenth failed to receive the support it needed to pass from the delegates. “Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the convention was held virtually, and convention rules did not allow for any amendments to resolutions,” Lederman said. “A number of delegates expressed concern over similarities in language between Independence Day on July 4 and the Juneteenth Independence Day from slavery in June 19.”

full list of the results from the elections can be found here and the resolutions that were proposed can be found here.


GOP announces that 2020 convention will ‘virtually’ be one of the best party gatherings ever!

GOP announces that 2020 GOP state convention will ‘virtually’ be one of the best party gatherings to date; convention will go electronic to maintain social distancing

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.

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.”