The Washington Senate is considering a proposal that would protect election workers from harassment. The bill was prompted by threats reported nationwide, and in Washington following last November’s election.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman spoke in favor of the bill in a Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing Monday.
“Across the country and around the state there have been not only actionable credible threats, but in some cases, gunfire being shot through windows of election offices, and like I said the personal protection of some high-profile secretaries of state and election workers that require their state patrols to be with them 24/7. It’s a serious level I've never seen in 28 years of doing this work," she said.
The bill would expand existing protections to cover not just officials like Wyman, but also staff members in her office and in county auditors’ offices.
Kathy Sakahara of the League of Women Voters mentioned an incident involving the bill's sponsor, Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle).
“It is horrifying to me to know someone from this state, who works in the senator's office, had her picture on a website with cross-hairs in front of her face, threatening her life. I want you to find a way to stop this. I don't know that we can totally eliminate it, but this bill sends the message that we are serious about protecting election workers," she said.
The legislation would make it a felony to make threats to cause bodily harm or damage to property of election workers.