“When we took office in 2019, there were about 200 participants in the Safe at Home program, and now we have over 2,000 participants,” Henning said. He said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose tasked local liaisons with encouraging prosecutors and judges to connect survivors of crime to the Safe at Home program.
Local residents who are survivors of crime who want to shield their addresses from their abusers or perpetrators can work with a YWCA advocate who is trained on getting individuals enrolled in the program. Individuals who live with survivors of crime can also sign up for the program.
Once individuals are signed up for the program, Henning said a substitute address for the participants will appear on voter registration records. He encouraged participants to vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballot request forms can be found on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website at www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-voting/.
For participants of the Safe at Home program, only the directors of the county boards of elections are able to process those absentee ballots.
“They’re the only ones who touch it,” Henning said.
Absentee ballots can be mailed or dropped off in a drop box at the voter’s local county board of elections. For absentee ballot drop boxes, only a bipartisan team — one Democrat and one Republican — can access and unload the drop box.
Barbara Ward, advocacy manager at YWCA Dayton, said they wanted to share voter information with their residents and clients to bring power to the voices of the women and individuals they serve.
“This is us being on mission,” Ward said. “I thought it was important, especially in this election cycle, to not overlook the fact that despite barriers that they may face, their voice still matters.”
White also encouraged the YWCA residents and clients to vote, reiterating that their vote matters.
“It matters as to who represents us in Columbus,” White said.