Senate District 2
Theresa Gavarone
Ohio Takes the Lead on Cyber Security and Voter Access
A Guest Column by State Senator Theresa Gavarone
October 28, 2019

Americans are blessed to enjoy so many rights and freedoms that the majority of people around the world can only dream of. One of the most important is the right to vote. Next month, millions of Americans will participate in elections to support candidates and issues that reflect their values. As an elected official, I believe that I have a responsibility to ensure that our elections are secure, accurate, and accessible.

This past week, Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 52, legislation I was proud to sponsor that creates the Ohio Cyber Reserve. The Cyber Reserve will be a volunteer force made up of cybersecurity experts from across the state. The Reserve will be deployed by the direction of the governor to areas that have been severely impacted by cyberattacks. For example, should an attack happen to a county board of elections, the state can immediately call on the Cyber Reserve to assist and remedy the problem.

The legislation also includes rigorous post-election audits to add an additional layer of security to the electoral process. Each county will be required to audit three separate races to validate the outcome in every general election and even-year primary elections. The accuracy of those results will give voters even more confidence that they are participating in fair elections.

We have made voting easier and more accessible than ever before through online voter registration, early voting opportunities and increasing voting locations in each county. Just last month I introduced Senate Bill 191 to modernize and streamline the process for voters to obtain an absentee ballot.

While easy and accessible, now more than ever we must ensure the security and integrity of our elections and make certain Ohioans are better protected from devastating cyberattacks. 

In Ohio, we aren’t just talking about preventing cyberattacks, upholding the integrity of our elections, or increasing access for voters—we’re actually doing something about it.

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