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Ohio Secretary of State discusses election security in Marietta

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:05 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 8:43 PM EST
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - : Secretary of State Frank LaRose says Ohio has been rated 99.98% accurate for election security.

That, after a 2020 election, held during a pandemic, where more people than ever cast ballots by mail, and voted before election day.

But information-or as many call it, disinformation-on the internet and other outside sources, has cast doubt on the process of last year’s, and possibly next year’s elections.

“One of the things I’m trying to emphasize is that no one should sit out next year’s election or any other election, because they don’t trust the integrity of the process,” LaRose said Friday, while meeting with the Washington County Board of Elections. “Educate yourself, go to our website: voteohio.com/secure, and check out the information about how Ohio’s elections are among the best in the country, and certainly trustworthy.”

The 2022 elections in Ohio will see the governor and other state officials seeking election or re-election. It also features a race for an open U.S. Senate seat for which there are several candidates, particularly on the Republican side.

LaRose was critical of the legislative redistricting map drawn up by the Republican-controlled general assembly, that opponents are challenging in court, accusing the legislature of gerrymandering.

The Republican Secretary of State was disappointed a more bi-partisan process, as required by a 2018 voter-approved measure, was not involved in the final process. For that reason, the maps will have to be re-drawn in four years rather than in 10 years, as normally happens after each Census.

The congressional redistricting map, approved by the legislature just this week, is also being criticized as disproportionate to minority Democrats. Cries of gerrymandering are also being raised.

It makes several Republican-leaning districts more competitive in the 2022 elections-something LaRose believes are among the new map’s benefits.

“I want to see more candidates who have a competitive race. I think competition makes us stronger. My understanding is that the new districts create seven that fall into that range of ‘competitive’. That’s a good thing, and I think it will be up to the voters to decide who represents them in Congress.”

LaRose says people are calling for audits after every election, a reference to the audits that have taken place in some states Joe Biden won narrowly over Donald Turmp in 2020.

But the Secretary of State says audits already are a routine part of the post-election process.

”After the spring primary election, we do an audit. In the counties where there’s a summer special election, we do an audit. And we just had the November general election a couple of weeks ago. At county boards of elections across Ohio, they’re getting set up and ready. So right after Thanksgiving, they’ll do that post-election audit of the most recent general election.”

LaRose also discussed business entrepreneurship with members of the area business roundtable, and visited a Beverly gun shop to exemplify its role in growing small businesses in the state.

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