Lake County Board of Elections beefing up cyber security as midterms approach

Lake County Board of Elections beefing up cyber security as midterms approach

LAKE COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The midterm elections are still a few months away, but all the talk about Russian interference has people talking.

A local Board of Elections is taking extra steps to make sure your ballot is secure.

"We accept that the threat is real. It's a very real threat," said Lake County Board of Elections Director, Ross McDonald.

So, the board is making some changes to the way it operates by adding new equipment to the voting process.

McDonald says it's a move to protect democracy in the new digital age.

"We're doing everything we can to defend and protect the process." said McDonald.

But these changes aren't just happening in Lake County. Soon every single place in the Buckeye State will be doing the exact same thing.

"This is really the pinnacle moment where all election boards had to take now that it's time to step up our game as it relates to the cyber security world," added McDonald.

It's all because of a new statewide directive developed by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

"One of the requirements in this directive is that we sign an agreement with the department of Homeland security," said McDonald.

The agreement was partially made to make sure a voting location is safe from any type of cyber vulnerability.

"We're engaged in what's called a phishing campaign assessment. Basically, a phishing email is a malicious email that tries to gain access to your system," said McDonald.

It can even happen to you in the comfort of your own home.

"Anytime you get an email at home and it has a link in it, make sure that you know where it's coming from. Is this someone that you regularly communicate via email," said McDonald.

If not, the results can be devastating. The same can apply on a larger scale, something that the Lake County Board of Elections is trying to make sure doesn't happen anytime soon.

"It's really just making sure that we maintain the efficiencies and the advances in technology while also going about in a safe and secure manner," concluded McDonald.

Lake County will be testing the new equipment on their mock election happening next week from Aug. 13 to 17.

Polls are open everyday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lake County Board of Elections.

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