Americans who embrace reality know that in 2016 foreign agents and governments launched assaults on our democratic elections, both with digital propaganda and cyber attacks at the machinery of our voting.

With President Donald Trump denying these facts and the Republicans who control the U.S. Congress looking to do nothing about it, the individual states will be left to fend for themselves. 2018 Ohio Secretary of State candidate Kathleen Clyde has a plan to make sure Buckeye State elections are protected.

“We have a couple of very serious problems facing our country and our state,” Clyde said. “Ohio has aging voting equipment so we need to make sure we are supporting our counties in their duty to update that equipment. One of the things that I am calling for is that when counties do upgrade they move to a paper ballot system.”

Clyde, a Democrat, is a state representative from Kent who has a long resumé in election law and has been called one of the most qualified candidates for secretary of state in Ohio history.

While in law school, Clyde was a student researcher and analyst at OSU’s Election Law Center. She also served as a law clerk for the Ohio Secretary of State and the Ohio Senate and earned a summer fellowship at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University for the study of election law. During the 2008 Presidential election, Clyde served as an election official with the Franklin County Board of Elections, overseeing the set-up and operation of the Franklin County early voting center. Clyde has spoken on election law issues at the Ohio State, Capital University, Stanford and Harvard Law Schools.

She said that paper ballots are more secure because they provide paper records.

“There are a lot of risks associated with voting on electronic machines where the vote is electronically recorded rather than on a paper ballot where we can see it with our own eyes and we have something to hand count,” she said.

The other serious problem facing America is the hacking that we’ve seen go on in our elections.

“We know that there were attempts to hack elections systems throughout the country, and Ohio was one of 21 states that was targeted,” Clyde said. “From what we know from the secretary of state’s office, nothing was compromised. But those attacks are going to keep coming and they’ll be very sophisticated. We need to make sure we have strong safeguards in place to protect people’s votes and make sure they can be confident in our elections in this state.”

Clyde has a four-part plan to introduce in the coming weeks, she said.

First, she would require there be a director of cyber security at the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. Second, Clyde wants to establish a Cyber Security Council that would advise that director and the secretary’s office. It would be made up of both public sector and private sector cyber security experts, she said, as well as voting advocates and election officials.

“This way we can make sure that the best and the brightest are the job helping us protect our elections in Ohio,” she said.

Third, as mentioned, she would require that counties move to a paper ballot system whenever upgrades are made. Finally, she said, the office would require that audits of all paper ballots be performed after each election so officials know county equipment is working properly and voters can be confident that ballots are being counted properly.

“I’ve seen around the country election experts and cyber security experts are really recommending the paper ballot system is where everybody ought to be heading,” Clyde said. “I want to make sure Ohio is on the front end of doing right by voters, and that our elections are secure.”