Election security and preparedness focus of 2020 briefing

State News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose wants Ohio to be the model other states look to for election security, and Ohio is well on its way to being the nation’s leader in this regard in his mind.​

Back in June, LaRose issued a new security directive, a list of 34 items he wanted to be addressed by the end of January.​

“I’m sure that when you all received that security directive from me this summer, you looked at it and you said, ‘Wow, the new Secretary of State lost his mind; he’s given us a year’s worth of work to do in only seven months to do it.’ I’m happy to report though that you all have been rising to the occasion,” LaRose informed representatives from Ohio’s 88 County Board of Elections.

​One of the directives calls for the installation of what is called an Albert Intrusion Detection Device. It is supposed to monitor network traffic and not only identify attackers, but provide notification the attack is happening.​

So far, 13 Ohio counties have the sensor up and running, and LaRose expects the other 75 to follow suit within the next 54 days.

​In regards to the other items, 52 counties are more than 50 percent complete in satisfying the list.

LaRose said a grading system is in place through his office, from A through F. ​

According to LaRose, there are several unnamed counties earning an F right now. He said they would be getting support to rectify that.​

“I’ve got a wide array of tools at my disposal, levers that I can pull that can encourage these counties to make sure they are getting done what they have to get done, and that is up to and including relieving boards of election of their duties if they don’t do their work,” said LaRose. “That’s a pretty extreme example, but I reserve the ability to do that. This is too important to take lightly.”​

LaRose said enemies of democracy are trying to convince Americans to have doubts that the credibility of our elections and the systems that we use to hold them are anything but secure here in Ohio.​

“In Ohio, and I can say in 49 other states, too, I’m confident when people show up to vote, their vote will be accurately counted and will be part of the results that they see on election night, and again, when people go to bed on election night in Ohio, they will know intuitively that it was an honest contest that included their voice,” said LaRose.

​He also reiterated a disdain for politicians who would perpetuate falsehoods, especially when it comes to the sanctity of our elections.​

“Nobody should call that into question, and people that do so for self-serving political reasons are doing our foreign adversaries work for them,” said LaRose.​

As he finished his welcome speech to the representatives from each of Ohio’s 88 counties, he drove home his goal for each of the boards of election: “By the end of January, you will all be complete with the security directive and we’ll be able to say to the voters of Ohio and to the voters of your county that Ohio’s the best-prepared state in the nation for the very real and very credible threat that exists.”​

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