DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose visited YWCA Dayton Tuesday with the mission of helping protect domestic abuse survivors and their right to vote. LaRose said the state plans to accomplish that through its Safe at Home program.
“One of the barriers that we found that was standing in the way of a special group of people that was keeping them from voting, is that domestic violence survivors were not registering to vote because they didn’t want to have their home address disclosed,” he explained.
Home addresses typically become public record after registering to vote. Under Safe at Home, victims of domestic violence are assigned a confidential P.O. Box where they can receive voting documents and information without fear of an abuser or stalker finding out where they live. .
“These Ohioans were almost being victimized twice — once by the bad person that hurt them, another time by a system that was not protecting their home address,” said LaRose. “And so now, we’ve corrected that, thankfully.”
Those who are interested in utilizing the program are not required to have a personal protection order against their abuser, however the program is most effective when an abuser does not know where the program participant lives, or if the program participant has has recently moved or will soon move to a new location. Interested participants must sign up in person, which is where advocates and organizations like the YWCA have stepped in to help.
“In Montgomery and Preble (counties) you can visit YWCA offices, or call for appointments, and we have two staff people here at YWCA Dayton that are certified application assistants,” said Miranda Armstead, rural advocate for YWCA Dayton.
If you are interested in training to become an application assistant, click here.
To reach out to the YWCA’s domestic violence hotline, call 937-222-7233.