A Cuyahoga County stalking victim told newsnet5.com that she finally feels safe to register to vote after an Ohio address confidentiality law went into effect this month.
The woman, who newsnet5.com is calling Natalie, canceled her voter registration after her stalker used the public records to track her down after she moved several times.
Natalie said she is now in the process of registering for the "Ohio Safe at Home" address confidentiality program for the victims of stalking, domestic violence and human trafficking.
For more than four years, a stalker has been tracking Natalie, waiting and watching for her at her home and in public places, taking pictures of her children and violating protection orders.
Ohio was one of just a dozen or so states that didn’t have a victim address confidentiality program in place. Over the years, different versions of the bill failed to pass.
Natalie started pushing lawmakers along with advocates for other victims and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office voiced support. After her story first aired on Channel 5, the bill finally passed in June.
“I feel like its that its been worth it,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but at least some good has come out of it.”
The program allows victims to apply through the Secretary of State’s Office for a special ID that allows them to shield their addresses when registering to vote that can also be used in other public databases.
“This is a huge win,” Julie Leggett, Director of Development, Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center told newsnet5.com. “Now those that have experienced violence can really get their life back to normal and not have to be in fear of who’s gonna find them just because they want to exercise their right to vote.”
The law went into effect on Sept. 8 but time is running out for victims to register to vote under the program for this November’s election. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11.
Survivors should go to SafeAtHomeOhio.com to find an application assistant near them. They can get in touch with the application assistant, who will guide them through the process of joining the program and then registering to vote using their program ID.
Additional support can be found at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center.