COLUMBUS – Today Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 52 into law, sponsored by State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R- Bowling Green.) This landmark bill strengthens Ohio’s cyber-security posture and better prepares the state for the digital threats facing Boards of Elections, critical infrastructure, and all local government entities.
“Imagine looking out the window and seeing foreign paratroopers parachuting into your town," said LaRose. "We wouldn’t tell a community, ‘you’re on your own – your sheriff department can fight off that threat’. Well likewise, in the online world, we can now respond with Ohio’s best cyber warriors so these counties and cities have the support they need.”
The bill, originally proposed by Secretary LaRose during his time in the State Senate, does the following:
- Empowers the Secretary of State and Ohio National Guard to both better enhance resilience to cyber-attacks of our election systems and improve responsiveness if such an attack would occur.
- Incorporates a Chief Information Security Officer into the Secretary of State’s office to put a laser-focus on technological election security efforts both in our office and in all 88 counties.
- Provides for the Secretary of State to have a seat on the Ohio Homeland Security Advisory Council.
- Requires post-election audits by county Board of Elections to better ensure the accuracy of the results.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
“Having been a victim of a cyber-attack against my office, I believe SB 52 is an essential step towards protecting Ohio and its political subdivisions from the ever-increasing attacks on cyber infrastructure. This legislation's creation of a cyber security reserve force will offer a strong defense and deterrent to such attacks, without which, the perpetrators will only grow bolder.”
-Dan Lutz, Wayne County Prosecutor
“We’re heading into 2020 with the understanding that our boards of election are going to be a target of cyber-attacks. That’s why we’re so appreciative of Secretary LaRose championing this legislation. By enhancing our security posture and ability to quickly react, we’re going to be more ready than ever to keep our elections safe and secure.”
-Rob Frost, President, Ohio Association of Election Officials, Republican Board Member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections
“The threats to our election systems are real. Strengthening our resilience requires teamwork, and by joining forces with the Secretary of State and Ohio National Guard, we know we’ll be ready to take on whatever our enemies throw at us.”
-Michelle Wilcox, First Vice-President, Ohio Association of Election Officials, Democratic Director of the Auglaize County Board of Elections