Secretary of State Frank LaRose is pushing county elections officials to complete a series of security preparations for the 2020 election.
The meeting comes only a month after an election where hackers attempted to break into the Ohio Secretary of State Office's website. That attack, which LaRose says was thwarted, raised the stakes for a security directive he issued in June.
"Fifty-two counties are more than halfway done,” LaRose says. “Thirteen counties already have their Albert sensor installed and operational, and guess what, we're already getting alerts."
An Albert sensor is part of a network monitoring package the non-profit Center For Internet Security provides to government organizations.
LaRose says his office has devised grades for how counties are doing, and most are earning a B or C so far.
“But we have some that need help,” he says. “We’ve got six or seven that are in the F-range, and the good news is we’re 56 days from my deadline that I’ve set, and they are getting intense help, let’s say, to make sure that they’re able to get this done.”
LaRose says his team put together the security directive to ensure Ohio's election is free from interference, but he says the plan is catching on beyond state lines.
"We were simply trying to put a list together of all the things that we thought needed to be done to be ready,” LaRose says. “What we're seeing though, is that this list has become in many ways the national standard that other states are trying to accomplish. Other states want to follow Ohio's example.”
The effort gets support from $13 million in federal funding through the Help America Vote Act. The deadline for completing the checklist is January 31 next year.