SPOKANE, Wash — Though a vote caste on a ballot is private information, if someone votes and where they voted is easily accessible public information.
However, for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking who live with genuine concerns for their safety, putting their information on public record can be dangerous.
Mia Morton, a counseling center advocate at the YWCA, helps survivors register for Washington state’s Address Confidentiality Program.
Even if someone stayed away from their abuser, the abuser would be able to find them easily through public record, Morton said.
The YWCA helps survivors register for the program that can keep their name off public record and vote safely.
The program is run by the Washington Secretary of State’s office. It gives survivors a substitute address for public records protection.
“It gives survivors an alternative address to their physical address that they can share with agencies,” Morton said.
When someone is enrolled in the program, they become a protected records voter.
“That offers really a unique layer of security. Your personal information will be kept very private,” Morton said.
The YWCA of Spokane can help survivors get enrolled in the program.
Advocates like Morton help through the entire process. They can consult about whether the program is a good fit, help people fill out paperwork and will be around for any questions that need to be answered.
The deadline to register for the program for the November election is the end of October.
The YWCA has a voter guide that can be reached here.
The YWCA also has a 24-hour hotline for anyone who is experiencing in domestic abuse. You can call (509) 326-2255 or text (509) 220-3725.