GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stopped at the Gallia Courthouse Tuesday afternoon as part of his tour across Ohio to discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen Ohio elections security.
“I’ve been going around to all 88 county boards of election,” said LaRose. “Simply, the reasons why I’m doing that is to have a chance to learn from you all…The second is to talk about some of the work we’re doing together. The security directive being a big part of it. I gave you all a checklist to work through between now and the end of January. By the way, other states are trying to emulate what we’re doing now. I was asked to go to D.C. and at a national conference with the Department of Homeland Security a couple weeks ago and it’s because they want the other states to do what Ohio’s doing. In many ways, we’re leading the charge in cybersecurity and protecting the integrity of our elections.”
LaRose said Ohio had spent $114.5 million for new voting machines across the state. LaRose said Ohio attempted to make it easy to participate in elections by allowing for voters to register online and vote by mail, among its other efforts.
“Unfortunately, some parts of the public don’t even know how a board of election operates,” said LaRose. “They have two republicans and two democrats that run the board and how the staff is bipartisan that run the show. That’s only possible because of the dedication and patriotism of people that come to work every day and we want to highlight that.”
LaRose noted that Ohio voting machines were not connected to the internet and could only be tampered with if an individual physically handled a machine.
“Of course, your local board of elections is not going to let that happen,” said the secretary. “Physical security is something we take very seriously.”
The secretary said 37 points of security were developed with help from federal law enforcement agencies in the hopes of strengthening Ohio’s election security.
According to Gallia Board of Elections Director Dale White, Gallia is making the change to paper ballot reading machines.
“Some people feel paper ballots are a more secure method of voting,” said Whitt earlier this year,“but that’s determined by each county, itself. They’re also cheaper in that you only have to buy one machine per location, as opposed maybe a half dozen (touchscreen) depending on a precinct.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.