Ohio Secretary of State visits Coshocton

| August 28, 2019

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (far right) visited the Coshocton County Board of Elections on Aug. 27. Pictured with him are Steve Hall and Michelle Darner, board of elections board members, Kirsten Ross, deputy director, and Stephanie Slifko, director. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose may be the chief elections officer but he knows there is a lot he can learn from county board of election officials.

“I don’t run the elections or work the polls,” he said. “I need to take every chance I can to learn from your experiences.”

LaRose started his position as Ohio’s 51st Secretary of State on Jan. 14. After taking office he made it a priority to visit all 88 of Ohio’s board of election offices. So far he’s been to half of them and Coshocton’s was part of his 11 office tour during the week of Aug. 26.

“I recognize that this is a partnership and I appreciate the work that everyone does,” LaRose said.

He stopped by the Coshocton County Board of Elections Office on Aug. 27 to meet with Stephanie Slifko, director, Kirsten Ross, deputy director, Coshocton County Commissioners Gary Fischer, Curtis Lee, and Dane Shryock, and two board members Michelle Darner and Steve Hall.

LaRose talked with them about a security directive that was issued by his office this summer.

“Ohio is already a leader in integrity and accessibility of elections,” he said.

LaRose stated that Ohio has early voting, weekend voting, and online voter registration to make it easy for people to vote and it also has paper backups for every vote. Now they are taking steps to safeguard the process.

“Equipment used for ballot collection and to tally votes will never be connected to the Internet,” LaRose said. “To do that would be a violation of state law.”

As part of the directive they must have updated computer software, have Albert Intrusion Detection, and have updated staff trainings on topics such as password strength and not being tricked in to clicking on links you shouldn’t. Background checks also will be implemented.

Board of elections offices have until the end of January to complete LaRose’s requests and he said most are well on their way to doing this.

“We want voters to have confidence and know that when they see the results their voice was included in them,” he said.

LaRose helped secure funding to assist the county offices in making these changes and to purchase new voting machines.

“They (the machines) needed replaced because their efficiency was starting to be questioned,” he said. “Some of our 88 counties had machines that were sold old that officials had to buy parts for them on eBay.”

LaRose thanked the Coshocton County Commissioners for supporting the board elections during all these changes.

“Thank you for your investment, for working with them and recognizing what we are trying to do to ensure fair elections,” he said.

LaRose’s goal was to make sure that these changes were made ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“It seems like a lot of work right now, but we will be better off for it,” he said.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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