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Cybersecurity, voter eligibility focus of new Ohio legislation

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(The Center Square) – A plan to more stringently scrutinize voter registration data and citizenship verification during Ohio’s elections sits before the Ohio House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation, which has yet to be assigned to a committee, also focuses on security of individual voting machines and would require the state’s board of voting system examiners to contain a person with cybersecurity expertise and credentials.

“Integrity in our elections is critical to the foundation of our liberties as Americans,” said Rep. Bernie Willis, R-Springfield. “Voters have to trust their vote matters and is being represented toward the candidate of their choosing. Technology is increasing at a fast pace and the standards voting machines are certified against are outdated. It’s time for a change that will protect everyone’s vote.”

The examiner board would also develop cybersecurity standards, reviews and certification of all existing and new voting machines in the state.

The Ohio Votes Count Act would also target increasing cyber security on all of the state’s voting machines and create a Cybersecurity Rick Management Framework that would require voting system vendors to comply. It would also monitor software supply chain integrity, develop security practices and look at voting system developments.

“As elected officials, it is our responsibility to ensure Ohio’s elections are transparent and accurate,” said Rep. Bob Peterson, R-Sabina. “The proposed legislation will increase the security of our voting systems, which is needed as technology continues to advance. Doing our part to uphold free and fair elections is vital to our nation as a whole.”

Also, the legislation would increase resources for county boards of election to improve voter list maintenance and require the state auditor to conduct a yearly statewide audit of the voter registration database and three randomly selected counties.

“Not only do we have to worry about our cyber infrastructure, we also have to focus on preventing ineligible voters from casting their votes,” Willis said. “The only way this is done is through good old-fashioned review of data. It is tough with more than 6 million registered voters, so I want to give them the tools they need to ensure that every vote cast is by an eligible voter.”

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