Lake County Election Breach Highlights Election Safety Protocols
November 29, 2021 by Amy Patterson

Federal investigators are looking into an attempted breach of Lake County election data which occurred in the office of Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck May 4, according to an exclusive Nov. 19 report from the Washington Post.

Federal investigators are looking into an attempted breach of Lake County election data which occurred in the office of Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck May 4, according to an exclusive Nov. 19 report from the Washington Post.

Both the Lake County breach, and one earlier this year in Colorado, occurred after consultation with Douglas Frank, whom the Post described as an Ohio-based scientist that claims to have discovered “secret algorithms used to rig the 2020 election.”

Former President Donald Trump won Lake County by about 14%, with 56% of the vote. He won with a 23% margin — 61% to 38% — in Geauga County.

According to Dennis Pavella, chair of the Geauga County Board of Elections, a group of concerned citizens and state Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chester Township) requested a meeting Sept. 13 with BOE employees where they raised concerns similar to those presented by Frank.

State Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland) said he was also asked to attend the meeting, but he arrived late and was handed a sheet of information with no references or footnotes.

“I was actually quite critical of (the document) — it was just a bunch of numbers, by precincts,” Cirino said, adding the residents who requested the meeting were very polite and receptive to answers from BOE staff.

“I think (the residents) had actually believed what they’d heard (about election fraud),” he said. “For them to be there to hear the actual facts of the situation I think was very constructive.”

Pavella said while employees were surprised at the attendance of Cirino and local residents, their main concern was whether voting and tabulation equipment is ever connected to the internet.

“The voting machines don’t have any connection to the internet, nor does the computer that tallies the totals,” Pavella said. “That pretty much was what the meeting was about.”

Grendell did not respond to requests for comment on the meeting.

Ohio’s election process is solid, Cirino said, adding he has been in many meetings with Secretary of State Frank LaRose on the topic. Cirino said Scott Daisher, who handles IT for the elections board, did a nice job explaining the process.

“He very calmly explained how elections really happen in Ohio and he disabused them of a number of assumptions,” Cirino said.

According to the Washington Post report, authorities say a private laptop plugged into the county network in Hamercheck’s office captured routine network traffic and the data obtained was distributed at an August “cyber symposium” on election fraud hosted by MyPillow executive Mike Lindell.

Once the breach was discovered, LaRose turned the matter over to local, state and federal law enforcement.

Hamercheck, a Republican, told the Post he was not aware any laws had been broken.

LaRose told the Post it is concerning that someone in an elected office would not realize election safeguards exist and would engage in what he called a “vigilante investigation.”

“The good news is that our system of cyber security in Ohio is among the best in the nation,” LaRose said.