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Government/Politics

Most County Boards Of Elections Have Passed Election Security Checks, But A Handful Have Not

Secretary of State Frank LaRose and board of elections officials at his press event: Deputy Director Shantiel Soeder of the Cuyahoga County BOE (right), Director Laura Bruns of the Miami County BOE and Director Michelle Wilcox of Auglaize County BOE.
Karen Kasler
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Secretary of State Frank LaRose and board of elections officials at his press event: Deputy Director Shantiel Soeder of the Cuyahoga County BOE (right), Director Laura Bruns of the Miami County BOE and Director Michelle Wilcox of Auglaize County BOE.

90 percent of all Ohio counties are now considered compliant with an election security order issued by the Secretary of State last summer. That leaves a handful that aren’t, with two weeks until voters start casting early ballots for the March presidential primary.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose said 80 county boards of elections have passed a 34-point security checklist he developed last year.

Hamilton, Ottawa and Warren Counties will meet those requirements within a week, and Carroll, Holmes, Trumbull and Clark Counties are working on it.  But LaRose said the remaining county will have to check in with his office once a week, because “we are placing the Van Wert County Board of Elections under administrative oversight.”

Additionally, LaRose said a Coshocton County board member has been asked to resign for refusing to comply with the security directive. 

That 34-point checklist includes background checks and training for election workers, migrating to .gov domains and installing intrusion detectors on servers.

LaRose said those break-in alarms are especially important. He noted that some counties have put those digital alarms the head of the county’s digital infrastructure -  "in which case, the board of elections is now helping to safeguard the rest of the county as well by detecting any kind of nefarious activity that could be occurring," LaRose said.

A server alarm in LaRose’s office caught an attempted intrusion from a Russian company in November. He announced a chief information security officer for his office last month.

Early voting for the March presidential primary starts on February 19. Absentee voting for military and overseas residents began on January 31.

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