Local Boards Of Elections Focus On Security

Dec 3, 2019

Ohio’s Secretary of State says a recent attempt by a computer in Panama to insert code into his office’s website was unsuccessful. But state leaders say this incident underscores why a comprehensive election security plan must be put in place soon.

The attempted hack into the Secretary of State's website was thwarted. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says no information from his office was at risk at any point. But state leaders say the state needs to continue to focus on security of its systems. 

Earlier this year, LaRose gave all 88 county boards of elections a security directive. And Aaron Ockerman with the Ohio Association of Elections officials says local boards are on track to have all of those security enhancements complete by the end of January. 

“It includes all kinds of things from physical security, doors, windows, locks – those kinds of things to cybersecurity, passwords, cyber hygiene," Ockerman says.

Ockerman says the directives also include getting local systems to talk to the platform the Secretary of State uses and converting emails to more secure addresses. He says local boards are on schedule to have all of those enhancements fully functioning by the March 17 primary.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is echoing the need for vigilence in protecting state websites. "We are going to have to continue, as business does, government is going to have to spend some money, frankly, to make sure our systems cannot be attacked," DeWine says.