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Local Summit Focuses On Cybersecurity In Elections

voting booths
John Minchillo
Associated Press

Voting rights advocates, computer security experts and some county elections officials gathered at the Ohio Statehouse for a cybersecurity initiative. And some say they feel like they have the information they need to protect Ohio’s upcoming primary.

Franklin County Board of Elections Deputy Director David Payne says he’s not worried so much about the election process itself.

“It would be very, very, difficult for anybody to change a vote," Payne says.

But Payne says he is concerned that disinformation will convince Ohioans to think their votes are not protected.

“The sowing of seeds of discontent is what concerns me the most," Payne says.

Michelle Wilcox is the director of the Auglaize County Board of Elections. She's also the president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. She says she believes the 34 safety items that 82 of the state’s election boards have undertaken was important but difficult to accomplish.

“Everything would be up and running smooth and then we would take five steps forward and three steps back," Wilcox says.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who ordered the boards to comply with the list of safety upgrades, says all counties are on track to accomplish them by Ohio’s primary election on March 17.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.