OLYMPIA — Frontline election workers would be protected from harassment in Washington state under a bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the Senate late on Thursday.

“Elections are meant to safeguard our democracy—they are our democracy,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), the sponsor of SB 5148. “They are strengthened by our collective participation and trust in the systems that uphold it.

“Many volunteers and workers lend their time to serve in our electoral process. This bill would afford them the same protections that elected and appointed election officials already have.”

Frontline election workers and officials across the country were subject to intimidation and even death threats in the 2020 election, including in Washington.

“Some say that we don’t need this bill because these threats had never happened before until this year,” said Frockt. “I think that’s all the more reason to pass this bill. To make sure that we nip this in the bud.

“We need to say with conviction that in Washington, our elections will be upheld with integrity, with safety, and with civility.

“I hope we never have to enforce this law, because people will come to understand that there will be consequences for their actions.”

SB 5148 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. It has until April 11 to be approved by the House to be eligible to become law this year.

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 25.