×

Voting security, consistency critical for Ohio

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was correct in his directives to increase election security in all 88 counties.

And now with the 2020 presidential election closing in, LaRose said Ohio is prepared.

“When the eyes of the world are on Ohio next year, we’ll be ready,” LaRose said.

LaRose issued his directive earlier this year requiring increased security upgrades at Ohio’s county boards of elections. Those included installing intrusion detection devices, doing criminal background checks of permanent board of elections employees and vendors or contractors that perform sensitive services for the board, and annual training on cyber security and physical security.

LaRose said the moves help to ensure that “we’re prepared for the very real threat that exists as it relates to cyber crimes and even foreign actors that engage in these type of things.”

Yes, there have been attempts, LaRose said. But none have been successful as it relates to Ohio elections infrastructure.

Let’s hope they never are.

LaRose also was correct in the statement he made this week at our newspaper offices that no election official in Ohio ever can let down his or her guard.

“The bad guys have to be right only once,” LaRose told our reporter. “We have to be right every day. We have to keep our guard up.”

Certainly, maintaining high levels of election security goes without saying.

And consistency among board of elections in all counties across Ohio is equally important.

That’s why LaRose is supporting a bill introduced by Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, and why we support it as well.

Rulli’s bill that passed the Ohio Senate on Nov. 6 and was introduced in the Ohio House last week would require the secretary of state and the board of voting examiners to adopt rules establishing guidelines for approval, certification and continued certification of voter registration systems and to adopt standards for the security and integrity of voter registration systems.

It also adds voter registration databases to the list of standards, renames the Board of Voting Machine Examiners as the Board of Voting Systems Examiners and adds a cybersecurity expert as a non-voting member of the board.

That is the board that sets standards for voting machines, marking devices, tabulating equipment, software and electronic poll books that must be met before a vendor can contract with a county board of elections.

“There needs to be standards in place” for voter registration systems, LaRose said.

We agree.

This bill would add an additional layer of security to protect Ohio voter information stored by county boards of elections.