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Wood County completes election security upgrades

The Wood County Board of Elections has been following new security protocol set forth by the Secretary of State to guard against any interference.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Following major issues reporting results at the Iowa Caucus, many counties in Ohio are hoping the March primary election goes smoothly. 

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Al Rakas is one of about a dozen people tasked with testing up to 100 voting machines  — all before election day.

"We conduct the vote and then it's printed and checked for accuracy to make sure that what we believe we voted for is exactly what is printed and sent to the server for election results," Rakas said.

As Rakas checks the machines for logic and accuracy, Wood County leaders are checking to make sure the county's election security system is solid.

All 88 county board of elections had to complete a 34-point checklist by Jan. 31, which was set forth by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. The checklist guards against interference and includes hardening of websites, staff background checks and preparing for cyber-attacks. 

Director of the Wood County Board of Elections, Terry Burton, said that the county's system is protected from hackers. 

"Our tabulation side is totally isolated. It never hits our network. It never hits the internet. It's all located here in the office, so there's no possibility for an electronic avenue of someone getting into that system," Burton said.

County officials also installed digital burglar alarms that will alert them to cyber-criminals attempting to hack their systems, which was another requirement from the state.

Voter machine accuracy checks are expected to be completed early next week.

Early voting begins Feb.19 and the primary election is Mar. 17. The primary election voter registration deadline is Feb. 18. 

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