State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced plans to join Mahoning County Board of Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta on Election Day in an effort to support elections officials and observe the state of elections cybersecurity, both in Ohio and around the country.

“The chief duty of our elections officials is to ensure voting in Ohio is fair, accessible and secure,” said Rep. Clyde. “In the wake of the largest cybersecurity attack on our voting infrastructure in U.S. history, it’s more important than ever before to talk with security experts, elections officials and voting advocates to stay up to date on the challenges we face. I’m taking this opportunity to observe current processes, work with local officials and inform members of the General Assembly about how we can best go about securing our elections against cyber threats.”

The National Security Agency earlier this year published an analysis  of phishing attacks by Russian military intelligence attempting to gain login credentials of election officials and access to U.S. voting systems in the run up to the 2016 election. Recent reports confirmed that Ohio was one of 21 states whose systems hackers attempted to breach.

“The hallmark of a healthy democracy is trust in its elections,” said Director Joyce Kale-Pesta. “It’s our job as elections officials to do everything we can to ensure our elections run smoothly and remain secure. I’m happy Rep. Clyde will be able to join us on Election Day so we can show her how we serve the voters.”

This is the first major election since Russian attempts to interfere and sow chaos in the 2016 election were reported. Next year’s federal election could again see such interference and preparations for new threats will be needed.

Rep. Clyde represents Ohio’s 75th House District, which includes Kent and parts of central and southern Portage County. She serves as the Ranking Member on the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, which hears legislation concerning voting and elections in the Ohio House.

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