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The Latest: Voters OK measure to tighten state gun

November 7, 2018
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Congressional candidate Kim Schrier addresses the crowd at an election night party for Democrats Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Washington state (all times local):

10:55

Voters in Washington state have passed a measure tightening gun regulations including enhanced background checks for people buying semi-automatic rifles.

Initiative 1639 would increase the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, add a waiting period to get those weapons and require safe storage of all firearms.

Supporters say the goal is to curb gun violence and make schools and communities safer by putting safety measures in place. They say making the checks as thorough as the one used for buying a pistol will help ensure that weapons are kept out of dangerous hands.

Opponents say the measure strips the constitutional rights of 18- to 20-year-olds and that forcing gun owners to lock away their firearms could put them in danger.

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10:50 p.m.

Voters in Washington state have approved a measure designed to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings.

Initiative 940 is designed to improve police training in de-escalation tactics and eliminate a requirement that prosecutors prove officers acted with malice to get a conviction in negligent shootings.

The initiative sponsor, De-Escalate Washington, submitted the measure to the Legislature this year. Lawmakers passed I-940 and a compromise version preferred by lawmakers, activists and police groups. The state Supreme Court ruled that I-940 in its original form would go on the November ballot while the compromise wouldn’t.

Initiative sponsors have said they’re focused on getting the measure passed and then expect to work with police groups and others on compromise language.

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9:54 p.m.

Democrats have taken an early lead in some key Washington state legislative races that will determine if they keep or possibly bolster their control in the Legislature.

Initial returns Tuesday night showed several Republican incumbents and Republican candidates in open seats trailing or in tight contests with their Democratic opponents.

Fourteen House races and three races in the Senate were for open seats.

Because Washington is a vote-by-mail state, more votes will be counted in the following days.

While Democrats hold most statewide offices in Washington, the political split in the Legislature is much narrower. Democrats currently hold a one-seat advantage in the Senate and a two-seat advantage in the House.

All 98 state House seats were up for election Tuesday as well as 25 of the Senate’s 49 seats.

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9:42 p.m.

A measure in Washington state that would impose the nation’s first carbon tax was trailing heavily in early returns.

The fight over whether to make polluters pay for their carbon emissions is being closely watched nationwide. Experts said approval of Initiative 1631 would create momentum for other states.

Oil companies poured more than $31 million to try to defeat the measure in the state’s costliest initiative campaign. Opponents spent twice as much as supporters.

Under the initiative, emitters such as fuel producers and natural gas plants would pay an escalating fee on fossil-fuel emissions starting at $15 per metric ton in 2020.

Money raised from the fee would fund a wide range of programs aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment.

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9:32 p.m.

An initiative that would tightening gun regulations including enhanced background checks for people buying semi-automatic rifles held a strong lead in early returns Tuesday.

Initiative 1639 would increase the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, add a waiting period to get those weapons and require safe storage of all firearms.

Supporters say the goal is to curb gun violence and make schools and communities safer by putting safety measures in place. They say making the checks as thorough as the one used for buying a pistol will help ensure that weapons are kept out of dangerous hands.

Opponents say the measure strips the constitutional rights of 18- to 20-year-olds and that forcing gun owners to lock away their firearms could put them in danger.

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9:32 p.m.

A ballot measure that would block local governments in Washington state from imposing new taxes on soda or grocery items was leading in early returns Tuesday.

The American Beverage Association has pushed the initiative as part of a nationwide campaign to slow the expansion of soda taxes.

Under Initiative 1634, cities and counties in Washington would be prohibited from taxing soda or food products. The measure would not prevent the state Legislature from doing so.

The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Inc. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. and others poured more than $20 million in support. Opponents raised about $33,000.

Proponents said the tax hurts small businesses and working people. Opponents said the measure would prevent local governments from raising money and allows corporate interests to create state policy.

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9:18 p.m.

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was ahead of Democrat Carolyn Long in early returns in southwest Washington state.

The 3rd District race as one of three hotly contested contests in the state where the GOP was trying to hold on to a seat. Herrera Beutler had 52 percent of the vote compared to Long’s 48 percent in early returns Tuesday.

The open seat in the 8th Congressional District that spans far eastern Seattle suburbs across the Cascade Mountains saw Democrat Kim Schrier take an early lead over Republican Dino Rossi. They are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Dave Reichert.

In vote-by-mail Washington, voters had a deadline of 8 p.m. Tuesday to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a drop box. In competitive races, results are often not known for days as ballots continue to arrive throughout the week and counties post daily updates.

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers won her re-election bid Tuesday, beating Democrat Lisa Brown.

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9 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers won re-election to the House from Washington, beating a strong challenge from Democrat Lisa Brown.

McMorris Rodgers defeated Brown, a former state Senate leader and college administrator.

McMorris Rodgers, who ranks fourth in House leadership and is the highest ranking GOP woman in the chamber, will be serving her eighth term representing the eastern third of Washington state.

The district is centered in Spokane and has not elected a Democrat since former House Speaker Tom Foley last won in 1992. McMorris Rodgers won an open seat in 2004 and has generally cruised to easy victories since.

But Brown was an experienced and well-funded challenger.

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8:30 p.m.

Democrat Maria Cantwell won re-election to the U.S. Senate from Washington, easily beating Republican Susan Hutchison.

Cantwell outdistanced Hutchison, a former Seattle TV anchor and state GOP party chairwoman.

Cantwell, a former tech executive who previously served one term the U.S. House and six years as a representative in the state Legislature, will be serving her fourth term.

It’s been nearly a quarter century since the GOP has captured a major statewide race in Washington. The last time voters sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate was 1994, when Sen. Slade Gorton was re-elected to his final term before being ousted by Cantwell in 2000. The last Republican governor, John Spellman, was elected in 1980. Republicans hold both the secretary of state and treasurer’s offices.

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4:50 p.m.

Elections officials have received more than half of the ballots of all registered voters in Washington state who mailed or dropped off their ballots by the 8 p.m. Election Day deadline on Tuesday.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office reports that ballots from 53.4 percent of the more than 4.3 million registered voters have been returned as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Garfield County in southeastern Washington state leads in early-bird voters, with 76.5 percent of ballots already received, while Seattle’s King County was ahead of the statewide average with its tally at 56.3 percent.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters still have time to have their ballot placed in a secure drop box.

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10:10 a.m.

Officials say more than half of all registered voters in Washington state still need to mail in or drop off their ballots by the 8 p.m. Election Day voting deadline on Tuesday.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office reports that 47.6 percent of the nearly 4.3 million voters have been returned as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Columbia County in southeastern Washington state leads in early-bird voters, with 66.3 percent of ballots already received, while Seattle’s King County barely beat the statewide average with its tally at 48.8 percent.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters still have time today to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a secure drop box.

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6:45 a.m.

Three contested U.S. House races are on a crowded Washington state ballot that includes four ballot measures, a U.S. Senate seat and more than 100 legislative contests.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters have a deadline of 8 p.m. Tuesday to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a drop box.

In competitive races, results are often not known for days as ballots continue to arrive throughout the week and counties post daily updates.

Of the state’s 10 congressional seats on the ballot, three are competitive GOP-held seats: the open seat in the 8th Congressional District that spans far eastern Seattle suburbs across the Cascade Mountains; eastern Washington’s 5th District, where Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, has held the seat for 14 years; and the 3rd District in southwest Washington, where incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was first elected in 2010.

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