DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Early voting is officially underway across Ohio, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose is ensuring voters that the voting process is safer than ever.

This will be the first election that LaRose’s new Public Integrity Division will be monitoring ballots to ensure the security and accuracy. LaRose hopes the new division will increase voting participation across the state.

“Anything we can do to bolster the trust that Ohioans have in elections I think helps drive greater participation so that’s the goal of this,” said LaRose. “To make more people confident when they vote, it’s going to be honestly counted and accurately reported and that’s what the Integrity Division will do.”

LaRose says both voter fraud and suppression has proven to be exceedingly rare in Ohio but isn’t taking any chances in the upcoming election. The first ever Public Integrity Division aims at increasing Ohioans confidence in the election polls. Montgomery County Board of Elections says they’ve already received 34,000 ballot requests. Director Jeff Rezabek says he’s heard residents be wary of mailing in their ballot due to the recent thefts at post office boxes.

“Those individuals have been caught so hopefully that will stop so if people are still worried about the mailing process, you can still do absentee and bring it down to the board of elections or one of our drop boxes, and if you’re’ still concerned than stop on by for early voting,” said Rezabek.

The Public Integrity Division covers campaign finance reporting, voting certification and registration, investigates election law violations, data retention and more. But most importantly, LaRose is hopeful private election investigators will gain the confidence of Ohio’s voters.

“They can refer something to the county prosecutor or to the attorney general office that’s more fully put together, professionally done investigation, and what we want to see is more participation,” said LaRose.

Montgomery County Board of Elections says if you’d still like to mail in your ballot– you can actually track the ballot to make sure it was delivered. For more information, click here.