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VOTE411 Voter Guide

OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE

Responsibilities: Oversees the election process in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Maintains records of corporations.Salary: $124,196Term: 4 yrs

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    Chelsea Clark
    (Dem)

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    Frank LaRose
    (Rep)

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    Terpsehore Maras
    (I)

Biographical Information

1. How do you view Ohio’s voter registration system? What changes would you make?

2. What will you do to improve voter turnout?

3. What steps need to be taken to ensure the security and integrity of elections?

4. What is the role of the Secretary of State in countering mis/dis information and voter intimidation?

5. Will you make changes/improvements to early, absentee, and/or election day voting? What would they be?

6. How do you envision working with BOEs and voter advocates?

7. How will you improve campaign finance policy?

8. How will you remain nonpartisan while representing the diverse interests of all Ohioans?

Introduce same-day voter registration. o Allow for online voter registration. o Allow for online absentee ballot requests. o Create opt-in for voters to automatically receive mail ballots.

Stop voter purges. o Increase voter participation by expanding automatic voter registration. o Expand early voting days and hours.

Bolster our state’s cybersecurity and guard against forein interference in our collections. o Modernize statewide voter registration database. o Remove loopholes that allow for dark money to go unreported.
o For years, state leaders have been trying to make it harder to vote. Ohio was once a leader in voting rights, but now we only make news when politicians engage in voter suppression. We need a Secretary of State who will prioritize fairness, accessibility, and efficiency at the ballot box. We need a Secretary of State who will champion a Democracy for Ohio Agenda. We need to focus on protecting a voter's rights to vote.
o Expanding early voting days and hours o Increasing voter participation by expanding automatic voter registration o Stopping unnecessary voter purges o And modernizing our elections by allowing for things like online absentee ballot requests
o As Secretary of State, I envision working closely with local Board’s of Elections to provide, training, policies and information that focus on making voting efficient for voters, protecting the integrity of elections and supporting their hard work with administrative efficiencies.
o Work with Election experts, advocacy groups and legislators to make campaign finance more transparent. o Remove loopholes that allow for dark money to go unreported.
o The position of Secretary of State is neither red or blue – it is meant to be red,white and blue. I intend to depoliticize the office by: - Fairly and evenly administering campaign finance violations not use the powers of the office to be lenient on friends and oppose enemies. - Avoid appearing at overtly partisan events whenever possible. - Protect the integrity of elections based on facts, not political expediency
Education Copley High School, Class of 1997. The Ohio State University, BA in Consumer Affairs with a minor in Business Administration, Class of 2007. JFK Special War Center and School, 2007
Training and Experience United States Army, Sergeant, First Class, U.S. Army, 101st Airborne, U.S. Army Special Forces, Green Beret
Due in part to our innovative voter registration initiatives along with Ohio’s online voter registration system which I sponsored in the Senate Ohio outpaces many other states boasting more than 8 million registered voters. Our system is different from most other states in that management of the system is from the bottom up where counties each run their own individual system. While this antiquated system may sometimes lead to inefficiencies, our office has made significant progress to strengthen list management and improve list accuracy. However, more can be done to strengthen voter registration. A statewide automated voter registration and verification system which utilizes data collected by the BMV will make Ohio’s registration system more convenient, accurate and less susceptible to fraud. It would allow experts within our office full access to data collected by the boards, BMV, and the online registration system and ensure a more efficient and effective voter registration system.
Under my administration, Ohio saw the largest voter turnout in state history, both in raw numbers and as a percentage of total registered voters. Amid a global pandemic, Ohio’s bipartisan election officials shined as Ohio ran what is empirically the most well-run election in state history. Through these challenges, our office found creative ways to encourage Ohioans to vote. I partnered with barbershops, breweries, and a number of other organizations and small businesses to grow enthusiasm and strengthen confidence in our election system.

Unfortunately, a crisis in confidence has grown to concerning levels, with Republicans and Democrats from across America having less faith in their elections. We all know the quickest way to decrease voter participation is by destroying the public’s faith in election integrity. That’s exactly why I created our new Public Integrity Division, to defend democracy by strengthening confidence, keeping fraud rare and boosting participation.
Ohioans deserve absolute confidence in their public institutions, and none of those institutions is more essential than the electoral process. Fair elections are the hallmark of our democracy. They serve to document and certify what Thomas Jefferson called “the consent of the governed,” and their integrity is vital to the representative government on which our states and nation have thrived. The office of the Secretary of State carries with it a unique responsibility and duty not only to administer our voting process, but also to ensure confidence in its outcome.

We started the Public Integrity Division to address that need while building upon our state’s tradition of innovation. For the first time, the office’s current investigative functions, including campaign finance reporting, voting system certification, voter registration integrity, election law violations, data retention & transparency, and cybersecurity protocols will work together to be both more efficient and thorough.
The best weapon against mis/dis information is truth. Within our office, we’ve developed an election response center designed to monitor social media to catch and correct instances of incorrect election info in real time. However, we recognize we can only have so much reach. That’s why we partner with community leaders especially in Ohio’s diverse minority communities to help educate the public and create ambassadors of truth.

We’ve also increased our recruiting goals for poll workers. These poll workers not only serve their communities in a civic capacity, they also become an army of truth-tells having learned first-hand that it’s both easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio.

Additionally, our Public Integrity Division will go a long way towards combating mis/dis information by investigating issues when they happen and providing Ohioans with the knowledge that our elections are run securely, accurately, and fairly.
Of the 42 states that run a traditional absentee voting system, the Brookings Institute determined no state does it better than Ohio. Voters have 4 weeks of early voting, including evenings & weekends. Ohio has become known as a national leader in voting accessibility and security because of our relentless dedication to innovate and improve.

We can modernize the way we request absentee ballots by adding a secure online absentee request system which I have been publicly advocating for years. I’ve been a strong and longtime advocate for shifting away from the old dead-tree paper format because there are secure ways available to provide a fast and efficient online option for absentee ballot requests. It’s also important to recognize what must not happen. Major changes, just prior to an election, whether done administratively or in the courthouse, disrupt the integrity of our elections & hinder voter confidence. Changes to our elections should happen at the statehouse, not the courthouse.
I’ve made it a point to build not only a working relationship with Ohio’s bipartisan election officials, but a partnership. I regularly visit our 88 county boards to see first hand their hard work and listen to concerns. We also have a responsive and professional regional staff that attends board meetings, mitigates potential issues, and serves as a constant connection to our office.

As has long been my approach with voter advocates, emphasizing an open dialogue on voting issues with unprecedented transparency leading to better outcomes for Ohio voters. The Diversity & Empowerment Council (DEC) I created is a perfect example of how well this can work. The DEC which I meet with regularly, serves as a chance for me to share the work being done at our office, update community leaders, and most importantly serves as a chance for me to answer questions and listen to concerns. We may not always agree, but an open dialogue ensures that the concerns of Ohio’s diverse communities are heard.
As Secretary of State and as a State Senator, I have always been a strong voice for greater transparency. Since taking office, I have worked with county boards to allow campaign finance reports for local candidates and committees to be filed electronically and be readily available online for the public and journalists. Additionally, I've supported legislation that ultimately requires all entities which engage in electioneering to report campaign donations to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Ohioans deserve to know who exactly is funding campaigns in our state.
As candidates and members of our respective political parties, we naturally have opinions and support candidates who share our values. Hiding those views is dishonest and lacks the transparency voters deserve. However, as Ohio’s chief election officer, I view my official role as a referee, and I’ve demonstrated that conduct time and again. The office demands looking to the law above all else when making decisions. I’ve kept to that as Secretary of State, even ruling against my own political party at times.

Additionally, the best way to ensure diverse interests are heard is by listening to every constituency in Ohio. By holding listening sessions and an open communication with community leaders, concerns and input of all Ohioans can be better met.
Education Bachelor’s in Molecular & Cellular Biology (2010); unfinished MBA (-3 credits)
Training and Experience 20 years private intelligence community
The integrity of the current system is not being taken seriously. I learned that the system was vulnerable to allowing noncitizens to register to vote. I proposed a solution that utilizes the existing BMV data and would be equivalent to ticking the box to exclude people under 18 from export, but only using SSNs instead, and the SOS’s office refused to implement it, claiming they did not have the technical capability. Additionally, I would terminate the privatization of the BMV. The Ohio BMV is like a franchise; outsourcing our licensing and ID services to private contractors puts Ohioans’ sensitive personal data at the mercy of private companies who sell it. Finally, I will ensure that all Ohioans have free access to state ID. I’ve helped homeless individuals obtain employment at local restaurants only for them to be let go because they didn’t have ID. I will hire social workers, including at satellite offices, who will help Ohioans overcome special circumstances in obtaining ID.
Free ID will ensure that all Ohioans have the means to register to vote and exercise their First Amendment right. I will bring transparency to the election process—no more black box technology will be allowed to handle our First Amendment right, and hand-counting of anti-counterfeit paper ballots will be done on CCTV. Full transparency will allow Ohioans to have confidence in our processes and thus encourage all Ohioans to exercise the franchise. You can’t hack paper! Additionally, we should make Election Day a holiday.
We cannot use any electronic voting machines for tabulation or scanning. As a contractor, I helped rig 45 elections in two dozen countries using voting machines. I helped convince the overseas populations to accept the machines so our government could select those countries’ leaders via "elections". So not only do I know for a FACT that electronic voting machines are used to rig elections; I know the inner workings better than any current secretary of state. In fact, our own government deployed this technology to steal the 2004 elections in Ohio for George Bush. Our First Amendment right is most important as our vote is our voice, and everything else is illusory once we lose that. We thus cannot take any chances with technology, especially considering that the source code is proprietary. Elections require accuracy, not efficiency; with that, we need to go back to paper ballots. I will implement anti-counterfeit paper ballots that can be checked like money and airtight chain of custody.
I have jurisdiction in carrying out election duties and matters on businesses. For one thing, I will ensure that all businesses and organizations that purport to act as unbiased media remain true to that description; if not, they will be reclassified accordingly. Ohioans deserve transparency regarding the motivations of those who purport to inform them. It should be implicit that voter intimidation will never be tolerated, but such crimes would normally come under the jurisdiction of law enforcement.
I will declare election day a holiday to maximize participation in the process. We can only have absentee voting if we are using anti-counterfeit ballots so that Ohioans can trust the legitimacy of the votes that are counted. A chain is only as good as its weakest link, thus all processes need an iron-clad chain of custody.
Control of local boards of elections should be in the hands of the people of each respective county. I obviously would oversee them in their election administration duties and would have the duty to instruct them through directives, but the people of each locality should ultimately be the ones deciding how the staffing of their board of elections is handled. My office will have an open-door policy for all constituents; we will answer every question, without obfuscation, and everyone deserves to have their voice heard.
I will issue a directive barring corporate donations, as well as donations from political parties (GOP and DNC) without a ceiling, to candidates running for office in order to level the playing field and allow average Ohioans to run for office, which is how our constitutional republic was intended to be. In addition, I will hire staff who will assist candidates in answering campaign finance questions and walking them through the process rather than simply giving them paperwork and telling them to seek legal counsel, which they may not be able to afford.
I seek to terminate the two-party system by eradicating primaries; disallowing the DNC and GOP and corporations from funding candidates so all can run; disallowing judges to have party affiliation; and ending redistricting and keeping it by county. I will give Ohioans recourse to recall elected officials; terminate the law that allows the SOS to be an AGENT of DHS, as well as retake Ohio's cyberinfrastructure from them; protect the interests of Cottage Farmers and Amish; remove corporate interests in our public schools that have become "companies" with CEOs; increase transparency in our state records and businesses; and ensure that every business upholds the Ohio Constitution. I will create satellite offices to assist small businesses and Chamber of Commerce hubs for all without fees. I will abolish JobsOhio as it is a WEF partner which brings in foreign interests to our state and is a matter of national security, especially considering it was funded by the incumbent's family business.