Candidates outline how they’ll protect Ohio from election hack

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Ohio’s efforts to clear inactive voters from the voter rolls. Secretary of State Jon Husted is the defendant in the ongoing legal battle. The two people vying for Husted’s job outlined how they will handle the voter purge.

“Nobody wants to see voters sort of precipitously being removed from the voter rolls,” said Republican candidate Senator Frank LaRose. “At the same time the secretary is required to maintain accurate voter rolls.”

LaRose said voter fraud is rare but that doesn’t mean he’s not worried about it.

“One instance of voter fraud is too many,” he said.

He said voters have to take responsibility for keeping their voter registration up to date.

“You would have to sort of sit out democracy entirely for six years before you’re removed from the voter rolls,” he said. “That’s a long time.”

Democrats have long criticized Husted’s move to clear some names from the voter rolls if they don’t vote for six years or respond to postcards sent to the last home address on file.

“This aggressive purging is unnecessary and I’m hopeful we will prevail in the Supreme Court,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde, the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State.

Instead, Clyde said she wants automatic voter registration for all eligible voters. That way the Secretary of State’s office would be required to update voter information and not the voter themselves.

“Automatic voter registration, not only is it a good move for Ohio, I think it is a cost savings and will help with the administration of elections in our state,” she said.

Clyde said there are enough laws already on the books to keep voter fraud from becoming widespread.

“Those are there for a reason,” Clyde said. “They’re working and what we need to do is make sure we are looking how we can encourage voting.”

Both LaRose and Clyde also outlined their plans to prevent any hacking of Ohio’s elections systems. LaRose said voting machines aren’t connected to the internet and there’s no proof any votes have been changed after a hack. He said the best way to stop hacking is to be prepared.

“A lot of it comes down to staff training, changing your passwords, not allowing unauthorized people access to a building, all these sort of basic, common sense things,” LaRose said. “There’s no such thing as a national election. There’s not even such thing as a statewide election. What they really are are 88 county elections.”

Clyde advocated going to a paper ballot to stop any hacks.

“There are some systems where you can mark your choices on a touch screen and a paper ballot is printed out on the spot,” Clyde said.

She also said she would add a cybersecurity director to the Secretary of State’s Office. Both LaRose and Clyde said aging voting equipment needed to be replaced.

“It’s not just our voting equipment, it’s also our voter registration database, our e-poll books when you check in to vote and our different electronic systems that aren’t part of the overall voting process,” she said.

Originally produced by Ben Garbarek for ABC6 WSYX in Columbus. View story here.

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