To the Editor:

Because initial jurisdiction to begin investigating errors of a voting machine is the responsibility of local law enforcement, I have asked the Tripp County Sheriff Shawn Pettit to take action which should concern all South Dakotans.

With bipartisan support I have made a formal request to the Tripp County Sheriff’s Office for an investigation into a successful cyber-attack by a foreign adversary on South Dakota’s election system including a comprehensive forensic audit of the machine or machines involved. The unique relationship this matter has with election integrity and voter confidence dictates that it be handled as transparently as possible and that conclusions drawn from this investigation and audit be made known to the voters of Tripp County and all of South Dakota.

Election results are reported to the Secretary of State’s Office online and votes may have been compromised by foreign interference in the November election.

Evidence of the attack appears in “Absolute Proof” airing on One American News Feb. 5, 2021, and is currently available at The petition to Sheriff Pettit states that “Even the slightest appearance of access to vote tabulation machines by a peer nation adversary cannot be allowed to remain unchallenged.”

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If we want to know what is in an election machine doing public business at taxpayer expense, it shouldn’t be a problem. Secretary of State Steve Barnett should cooperate with this investigation/audit. Anything less than full cooperation and he could be viewed as having contempt for the voters of South Dakota and sympathy for foreign adversaries. Now would be a good time to remind ourselves that elections belong to the people. Gov. Noem should also direct state agencies to cooperate with Sheriff Pettit.

Bad actors with access to the vote count do not need to change the outcome of an election to wield unholy influence. Flip a few thousand votes for the predicted primary winner in June, then black mail the successful candidate after the general election.

Going forward, the common sense solution is for our elections to become completely divorced from the internet.

Robert Tate

Tripp County Rancher