COLUMBUS – Virtually every Ohio county has met the requirements of the Security Directive Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued in June 2019. One county is considered non-compliant and requires corrective action and seven counties have been good-faith partners but have minor additional action required. All other counties are considered fully compliant.
On June 11, 2019, LaRose issued Directive 2019-08, a comprehensive, multi-faceted security strategy for local boards of elections that provides the redundancy required of a strong election system infrastructure. In order to assure Ohio counties were given a deadline of January 31st, 2020 to complete the requirements within the directive. The effort has made Ohio the national leader in election security.
The directive included a checklist of 34 separate requirements that must be met in order to be considered compliant. The specifics of this checklist essentially serve as Ohio’s detailed defense plan against adversaries who seek to disrupt our elections. These requirements fall under five separate sectors:
Over the past seven months, the Secretary’s office has been working hand in hand with county boards of elections to help them achieve compliance with the directive, including daily phone updates and dozens of site visits. Ohio is utilizing $12.8 million in federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to enhance election security statewide. Ohio is the only state in the nation that made grants available directly to our local election officials through our latest round of HAVA funding.
“There will inevitably be attacks on our election system,” said LaRose. “We have to be vigilant, and this successful implementation of our security directive leaves no doubt that Ohio is the best prepared state in the nation.”
Non-Compliant and Requiring Corrective Action
- Van Wert: Failed to achieve requirements of the Security Directive and failed to accurately and honestly report implementation progress. As of February 5, 2020, Van Wert County Board of Elections is being placed in Administrative Oversight. Administrative Oversight will require the Van Wert County Board of Elections to report weekly to the Secretary’s office to ensure that the directives the Secretary issues are complied with and that the board is effectively administering elections, and Secretary of State’s Election Division will hold in-person meetings with the Board in Van Wert County
Requiring Additional Support by the County Government
- Hamilton, Ottawa, Warren: All have partnered with the Secretary of State’s office in good faith and are expected to finalize the requirements within the week.
Experiencing Vendor Difficulties
- Carroll, Holmes, Trumbull: Each county has partnered with the Secretary of State’s office in good faith and are working to overcome issues with vendors hired to support Security Directive compliance.
Requiring Additional Support by the County Government and Experiencing Vendor Difficulties
- Clark: Has partnered with the Secretary of State’s office in good faith. Vendor has failed to provide support as requested. County government has agreed to provide support necessary. County is expected to finalize the requirements within the week.
In January of 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Election Infrastructure as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. By its very nature, each and every election system is vulnerable to ever changing security environments. By implementing this elevated security posture that is a model for the nation, Ohio is in the best possible standing to deter any threats to our election system, both foreign and domestic.