LaRose commends lawmakers for action on DATA Act

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Says it will help with election transparency

COLUMBUS — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Wednesday the creation of a new Office of Data Analytics and Archives that he said will begin work immediately on a major new election transparency initiative.

Lawmakers included funding for the project, called the DATA Act, in the state’s new biennial operating budget. The legislation was announced in February by Secretary LaRose and State Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green.

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“Election officials haven’t been required to keep electronic records after an election, so they’re often just erasing and discarding the data instead of archiving it for transparency,” LaRose said. “There’s also no standard definition for these records, which leads to confusing outcomes for anyone trying to analyze election results. We’re about to change all of that. This legislation is really a game-changer for election integrity, and I’m proud that Ohio is once again leading the way.”

LaRose previously outlined the four major components of the DATA Act:

• Data:: States have generally failed to adopt consistent definitions of digital election data, leading to confusing and often conflicting auditing outcomes. The DATA Act codifies standard definitions of key election data points so post-election results can be analyzed more accurately.

• Analysis: The DATA Act creates a centralized Office of Data Analytics and Archives within the Office of the Secretary of State that can serve as a clearinghouse for the retention and review of electronic election records

• Transparency: The DATA Act helps build trust in democracy by crowdsourcing and platforming election data for public scrutiny. The newly created Office of Data Analytics and Archives will publish election data online, both following an election for auditing purposes and over time for comparative analysis year-over-year.

• Archive: The DATA Act codifies a process by which election data – local, state, and federal – must be transferred to the Secretary of State’s Office of Data Analytics and Archives for retention and public disclosure.

LaRose thanked Gov. Mike DeWine and state lawmakers for supporting the initiative, particularly Senate President Matt Huffman, Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan, House Speaker Jason Stephens, House Finance Chair Jay Edwards and bill sponsor Sen. Theresa Gavarone.