Cybersecurity Measures Could Block Ohio Voters Overseas

The very same cybersecurity measures that are being taken to stop overseas hackers from infiltrating the websites of the government could possibly prevent those civilians who are civilian and military voters from casting their votes in upcoming elections.

It is possible that the security filters that are being used to block international traffic could potentially affect the small number of voters that Ohio has overseas. In the 2018 election, 9,600 ballots were requested by those who are living overseas, but only 7,500 were returned.

The current issue has been brought up with the Ohio State Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office in anticipation of the 2020 presidential and state elections. With the directive for the increased security, it was reported that 8 out of 88 county boards of elections had finished their security system upgrades by the January 31 deadline that was given to them.

They are trying to find workarounds for those citizens overseas that want to vote. The Secretary of State’s Office has created the website Overseas Vote Ohio which is a good place for the overseas voting population to start with. They are even able to request that another relative can vote on their behalf. This website is not blocked by international cybersecurity measures.

Jacob Hopkins, a former resident of Columbus, OH, who now lives in Brazil has not been able to regularly vote since his move in 2013. He wants to cast a vote in the upcoming presidential election in 2020, but every time he has tried to obtain his absentee vote there has been resistance.

Hopkins works in information technology and commented that the election officials could still block continue to block the international usage but redirect to a secure site for those who want to vote.

The Federal Postcard Application is treated as both voter registration and an absentee ballot request form. These only need to be filled out once a year and once turned in, the ballots for the elections the entire year will be sent via email or USPS. The voter simply votes signs and returns it. The first wave of ballots has already been sent this year for the 2020 primary election.