"The Big Lie, that we can’t trust our democracy to count the votes, has become a weapon. It’s being used all over America – including our state – and it will again incite violence. There are many examples where the law punishes lying on official documents or under oath – and I believe some standard should apply here," Inslee said.
January 6, 2021, was a pivotal day in America’s history. Attempts to hold elected leaders accountable for their roles in spreading disinformation and inciting a deadly, attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol are ongoing. But the governor says the growing numbers of candidates and elected officials who knowingly espouse false information about elections pose a longer-term threat to democracy.
Inslee’s SB 5843 applies specifically to elected officials or candidates who “knowingly, recklessly or maliciously” make false statements or claims about elections and have an intent of inciting lawlessness, undermining an election, or falsely claiming they won. The bill makes such action a gross misdemeanor.