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Secretary of State Frank LaRose talks election integrity ahead of Ohio primaries

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose with Montgomery County Board of Elections Directory Jeff Rezabek.
Alejandro Figueroa
/
WYSO
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose with Montgomery County Board of Elections Directory Jeff Rezabek.

On Monday, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose visited the Montgomery County Board of Elections ahead of the May 3 primary.

During the brief meeting, LaRose spoke about how elected officials prepare ahead of the primary elections. He also spoke about redundancies in the process that preserve election integrity.

LaRose said Ohio has become a leader in secure elections, with a system that relies on both electronic voting machines, paper tabulations, as well as post-election audits.

“If you were to try to fraudulently rig an election in Ohio, you would have to physically break into voting machines and do that undetected and then you would have to somehow also commit the same cheating with paper, and the two would have to reconcile, which is impossible,” LaRose said.

Despite redundant processes that make it difficult to cast fraudulent ballots, some voters in his own party are still not convinced elections are secure. Yet there are debunked claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

LaRose said there’s no question that elections in Ohio are fair and honest. Although he declined to comment whether the 2020 election was stolen in other states, he instead citied “unknowable things” in Pennsylvania as an example.

“There's not some cloak and dagger secretive algorithm in the voting machines flipping votes, all that's far-fetched. There’s shenanigans that happened, that shouldn't have happened,” LaRose said. “Things happened in Pennsylvania where Republican poll workers or election observers were kept out of being able to observe the process as carefully.”

LaRose also said his office has worked to communicate to the public that elections are safe. He added that if Democrats get elected, much of that work will become undone.

“There is a national effort by special interest groups to try to defeat Republican secretaries of state and replace us with Democratic secretaries of state,” LaRose said “If a liberal activist becomes secretary of state, I think that that will hurt the trust that Ohioans have in their elections.”

In Ohio the general elections are overseen by bipartisan county boards of elections, a process that is intentional in order to administer fair elections. Additionally, in the last year 19 states have enacted laws that make it harder for people to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Most of those states are Republican led.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming