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Ohio Secretary of State Week in Review for the Week Ending August 19, 2022

Ohio's Election Security Receives National Recognition

Bloomberg. Ohio raises a volunteer army to fight election hacking. The state turns to private-sector professionals to fend off cyber attacks on voting systems.

  • “Already, other states are seeking to copy Ohio’s model as they race to catch up with the threat of ransomware hacks, election interference, and other punishing cyberattacks, both foreign and domestic.” - Bloomberg News

  • “We’re light-years behind these guys.” - Chip Daniels, South Carolina National Guard, after a recent trip to Ohio

Read online at Bloomberg.com


Ohio Secretary of State's Office Receives Perfect Federal Audit

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced the findings of an audit authorized by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that assessed the State of Ohio's use of federal grants received under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The audit did not identify any findings or make any recommendations, meaning the Secretary of State's office administered the $45 million in federal grants in full compliance with the EAC's requirements.

"There should be no greater charge to any public official at any level of government service than to be responsible, professional stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Secretary LaRose. "I am proud that the array of fiscal controls, oversight, and policies we have put in place to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars have been validated in the audit, and we will continue to be diligent in our efforts to ensure that the interests of taxpayers are always prioritized."

On August 9, the Office of the Inspector General of the EAC released its findings, saying, "The Office of Inspector General found that the Ohio Secretary of State accounted for HAVA funds in accordance with applicable requirements, properly accounted for and controlled property purchased with HAVA payments, and used the funds in a manner consistent with the informational plans that they had submitted."

Read the full audit.


As Economic Instability Continues to Stifle New Business Creation, LaRose Promotes Business Resources

Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced 12,790 new business filings in July 2022, the lowest point of growth in the last six months. This is a 16% decrease from July 2021 and a 12% decrease from June 2022.

This month, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index reached its sixth consecutive month below the 48-year average. According to their most recent survey, inflation continues to be the number one issue facing small businesses.

“Each month that goes by with economic instability, entrepreneurs lose more faith,” said LaRose. “Although Washington continues to send a message that they are not interested in supporting small businesses, Ohio will continue to break down barriers to innovation and economic freedom. We will never abandon our entrepreneurs.”

QUICK FACTS:

  • 12,790 new business filings in July 2022, a 16% decrease from July 2021 and a 12% decrease from June 2022.
  • 107,859 new businesses have been created in 2022 so far, averaging 15,408 per month.
  • 2019, 2020, and 2021 were all record-setting years in Ohio for new business creation. In 2021, Ohio surpassed the annual filing record with 197,010 new business filings
  • Ohio entrepreneurs can visit OhioSoS.gov/BusinessResources to discover the helpful opportunities available to them that can help them start and grow their business


Ohio Business Tips and Reminders

Explore resources to grow your business

Inflation is putting a large strain on small business owners throughout Ohio, but we have your back!

Visit Ohio Business Resource Connection to connect to resources that may help you start or grow your business.

Is your business information up-to-date?

Is your business information up-to-date?

Check your business registration and ensure your statutory agent, address, contacts, and other information are up to date.

Protect yourself from business identity theft

Business identity theft is a major threat facing job creators.

Protect your business by signing up for alerts.


Election Dates and Reminders

The November 8 election will include the following races:

  • Statewide executive offices, including Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer
  • U.S. Senate and House
  • Ohio Supreme Court
  • Ohio House and Senate
  • State board of education
  • Local government races and issues

The deadline for registering to vote in the November 8 election is October 11. Register to vote online at VoteOhio.gov.


In Case You Missed It

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Conversations in Columbus: Secretary of State discusses election integrity

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Conversations in Columbus continue as Election Day 2022 is now 82 days away.

Election integrity remains an important item heading into a busy midterm season.

The success of an election isn't determined just on Election Day. It takes months of preparation, from gathering poll workers to making sure county boards of election have all the supplies necessary.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose has served in his role since 2019. After running the 2020 Presidential Election, he's now leading the Buckeye State in its preparation for the 2022 midterms.

Learn more.

 

bloomberg

Bloomberg: Ohio Raises a Volunteer Army to Fight Election Hacking

The state turns to private-sector professionals to fend off cyberattacks on voting systems.

Chris Riling says he “could never join the military.” He’s 37, has cerebral palsy, and wouldn’t have managed basic training, he says.

Yet he recently swore an oath to protect the country and obey his commanding officers. At any moment, Ohio’s governor can call him up for active duty reporting to the state’s National Guard. And if he missteps, he can be tried under the Ohio Code of Military Justice.

That’s because Riling, a systems architect at Cisco Systems Inc., is a volunteer for a novel kind of civilian reserve—a group of mostly private-sector tech professionals tasked with combating cyberattacks in the state. Right now, in the runup to the midterms, the group’s focus is election integrity: Voting-related hacking attempts could have disastrous implications for American democracy if successful, and cash-strapped state and local governments are often ill-equipped to face down new technological threats. Already, other states are seeking to copy Ohio’s model as they race to catch up with the threat of ransomware hacks, election interference, and other punishing cyberattacks, both foreign and domestic.

Created just before the pandemic, the Ohio Cyber Reserve has assembled 80 members who can be called up under the command of Major General John Harris of the National Guard. They work mostly in cybersecurity by day and moonlight as crime-fighting reservists on weekends and Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The program already has state funding to expand to 200 people and could ultimately grow to 500, organizers say. Most members take leave from work to fulfill their reserve duties and receive travel expenses for training.

The idea that election security could be bolstered by unpaid militia members is an indication of just how much strain local officials face. In the US, states and smaller jurisdictions run elections—including federal ones—often with few resources, limited know-how, and divergent approaches. Ohio alone has 88 county election boards, and Michigan has 1,603 local election officials. Cyber protection levels across the US range from advanced threat detection and remediation all the way down to nonexistent IT departments.

“There are 50 different ways of running elections throughout this country,” says Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state. He and other experts say the separate systems help prevent large-scale attacks, but the approach can mean some jurisdictions are more vulnerable. As a state senator, LaRose supported the creation of the reserve as a flexible response team and sometimes calls it the “Geek Squad.” Jen Easterly, director of the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, recently said that Ohio is “a model for what the rest of country needs to be doing to keep their elections safe and secure.”

Read more.

Media Contact

Rob Nichols
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330.760.7582