Bubble those ballots
Incumbent senator Patty Murray held a 10-point lead over Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley as Washington voters begin turning in their ballots, according to a poll released by the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI) on Oct. 21.
Pollsters from Public Policy Polling (PPP) contacted 782 likely voters on Oct. 19 and 20 and asked which candidate they planned to vote for.
Murray, a Democrat, has represented Washington in the U.S. Senate since 1993. Smiley is an advocate for veterans and is running as a Republican.
PPP also asked about the Secretary of State race between independent Julie Anderson and Steve Hobbs, a Democrat. Republicans threw a wrench in that race by backing former Republican congressional candidate Ken Klippert as a write-in option.
When asked only about Anderson and Hobbs, participants showed a dead heat between the two candidates. However, when Klippert’s candidacy was added to the mix, support for Anderson cratered, said Andrew Villeneuve.
“Normally, the number of unsure voters goes up when you add choices,” Villeneuve told reporters on a call. In this case, more voters made up their minds when a Republican option was available.
Washington state elected Democrats are pushing forward legislation to protect people’s health data, particularly information around reproductive and gender-affirming care, from private parties.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson, State Sen. Manka Dhingra and State Rep. Vandana Slatter announced the tenuously — and torturously — named Enforcing Measures Protecting Our Washington Health Electronic Rights and Data (EMPOWHERD) Act, which aims to prevent the sale of health data that could potentially be used by law enforcement in states with anti-abortion laws to prosecute people who get an abortion in another state.
The EMPOWHERD Act would also prohibit geofencing around reproductive and gender-affirming health care facilities. Geofences are virtual perimeters that can be triggered by personal devices.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision over the summer of 2022 triggered existing statutes and inspired a flood of new anti-choice legislation. In some cases, those laws prohibit a person from crossing state lines to access abortion services.
In June, Gov. Jay Inslee prohibited Washington state police from enforcing anti-abortion statutes from other states. In a similar move, the Seattle City Council voted in July to restrict the Seattle Police Department from helping with arrests or investigations that stem from abortion bans in other places.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants to go further, advocating for an expansion of the “Amazon Tax” to pay for abortions. Mayor Bruce Harrell included $250,000 in the 2023-2024 budget for the Northwest Abortion Access Fund.
Read more of the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2022 issue.