When Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 359 into law June 8, state Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) was thrilled.

When Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 359 into law June 8, state Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) was thrilled.

Duffey, who represents Dublin, Worthington and parts of Columbus in the Ohio House of Representatives' 21st District, helped lead the charge for the bill, dubbed "Safe at Home." State Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) co-sponsored the bill.

The bill establishes Ohio's Address Confidentiality Program. It allows victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, rape, sexual battery and stalking to protect their information when registering a vehicle or registering to vote. They can use a special post-office box address rather than using their own, hiding the information from those who would seek to find them.

Victims can contact a variety of "local nonprofit navigators" to learn about their options going forward.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted praised the bill, saying Ohioans "can participate in our democracy without fear" after its passage.

"No Ohioan should ever have to choose between their personal liberties, like exercising their right to vote, or their personal safety," Husted said in a release. "Thanks to the support of Governor Kasich and our legislative leaders, that will no longer be an issue."

Duffey, who was inspired to act by both a personal friend and by activist Marcia Eakin, said he was elated with the news.

"It's huge," he said. "It's definitely what I would hope will be a legacy piece, something people will remember me for."

Eakin was present at the bill's signing, making the conclusion of efforts on behalf of the bill even more emotional. Duffey said he had a schedule conflict the last time she was in town.

"I was floored that she drove in to do that. I had never met her before ... and I was really happy to see her there. ... Several people, including myself, got a little watery-eyed during the ceremony. It's very satisfying."

Eakin had testified in front of the House regarding the bill, which the House passed in February. In 2009, Eakin's ex-husband murdered her two children and mother. He was convicted of three counts of murder and given three death sentences.

The bill's timing was perfect, taking effect with enough time for voters in November to register under their new post-office box rather than their home address. Because of the summer recess, Duffey was concerned that without an emergency clause, it would not take effect early enough.

"We were worried that if the bill was just in the pile, it wouldn't be effective enough for people to vote this fall," he said.

Duffey encourages victims to do research and contact their local nonprofits, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network or the Ohio Secretary of State's office to learn more about the program. He also suggests victims vote absentee to avoid polling places where addresses are apparent; letting their guard down won't help, he said.

"It's going to be a very positive shield for people who want to be able to vote and do so safely," he said. "But it also carries with it a lot of responsibility. ... They're going to have to get to know all the details. And that's what the navigators and the nonprofits ... are there for."