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Washington Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee is calling on lawmakers in the Evergreen State to make it a crime for “elected officials or candidates for office” to lie about election results.
“It should not be legal in the state of Washington for elected officials or candidates for office to willfully lie about these election results,” Inslee said, according to a report from the Seattle Times.
Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the ceremonial ribbon cutting prior to the opening night for the NHL hockey franchise the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 22, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The legislation would make it a gross misdemeanor for elected officials or candidates for office to lie about the results of an election. However, Inslee said later in an interview on Thursday that there would have to be “knowledge that there’s potential to create violence” for it to be considered a gross misdemeanor.
It is not clear yet how a lie would be defined and who would decide whether it is a lie and if it is one that could incite violence.
Inslee’s remarks, on the one-year anniversary of the violent Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., were made during a legislative preview event in which he repeatedly attacked former President Trump and claimed he “is still intent on continuing this coup effort.”
Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
The Times reported that it is “not clear whether such a proposal would indeed pass constitutional muster, as the Washington State Supreme Court has in the past rejected efforts to ban lies by political candidates.”
Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the Washington State Legislature, gross misdemeanor convictions can carry a maximum 364-day sentence in county jail and a fine worth as much as $5,000.
“And we have to realize, unfortunately, it’s not just in other states; it is right here in Washington state, this ongoing effort,” Inslee said, according to the Times.
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