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OPINION: Protect Ohio Elections With Cyber Staff

March 11, 2019
Editorial Board

Ohio is mobilizing the troops to the worrisome threat of cyber-tampering in elections and all facets of state government.

That’s an apt metaphor for what is proposed in Senate Bill 52, as supported by the new Secretary of State, Frank LaRose.

The bill creates a new volunteer unit under the Ohio adjutant general, at the same level of the Ohio National Guard, called the Civilian Cyber Reserve Force.

We need safe, protected election systems. The disclosures of Russian attempts to hack into and sabotage America’s 2016 and 2018 elections reveal that our systems were under more intensive threat than we knew.

The unit would be made up of volunteers working in Ohio’s information technology industry. They would not be paid for training, but would be eligible to be paid if mobilized in response to an Internet attack on any facet of Ohio government, including its elections system.

This was a proposal Mr. LaRose made during the election campaign. Mr. LaRose’s Democratic opponent, Kathleen Clyde, had a different cybersecurity proposal.

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This is a much-needed team of cyber first responders who will be entirely civilian, with no military rank or uniforms, to be called out in a cyber emergency at the decision of the governor. This is a smart way to address the threat of shadowy hackers at home and in a hostile foreign world.

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Maggie Sheehan
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(614) 466-2729