Even as poll workers were counting up the votes on ballots on Election Day this Tuesday across the country, several county elections offices in multiple states received suspicious envelopes with powdery substances inside. Now, we know that the handling of at least two of those envelopes could have been deadly — as they contained traces of fentanyl.
Four county elections offices in Washington state had to be evacuated Wednesday, in fact. A statement from the Washington Secretary of State (SoS)’s office, titled “County elections offices receive suspicious envelopes,” reads, in part:
OLYMPIA — Envelopes received by elections offices in King, Pierce, Skagit, and Spokane counties were found Wednesday to contain unknown powdery substances. Each impacted county’s elections workers evacuated their offices, and elections leaders have taken precautions to keep employees and office visitors safe.
Local, state, and federal authorities are investigating the incidents, which occurred while workers were processing ballots from the Nov. 7 General Election. Because investigations are ongoing, the Office of the Secretary of State can provide no further information about the incidents.
Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said these incidents illustrate the need to take seriously the threats that elections workers face in administering Washington’s democratic process.
Secretary Hobbs said:
The safety of staff and observers is paramount as elections workers across the state open envelopes and count each voter’s ballot.
These incidents underscore the critical need for stronger protections for all election workers. Democracy rests upon free and fair elections. These incidents are acts of terrorism to threaten our elections.
This follows a report from the SoS’s office about similar incidents in two counties during the state’s Aug. 1 primary election — with one envelope also containing “trace amounts of fentanyl”:
During the state’s Aug. 1 primary, King County and Okanogan County election officials received suspicious substances in envelopes. The envelope and letter received by King County Elections were turned over to the United States Postal Inspection Service, which performed an analysis that detected trace amounts of fentanyl.
The Okanogan County envelope, however, turned out to be an “unharmful” substance, the SoS’s office reported.
The AP reports confirmed the evacuation of the offices on Wednesday as well.
The images below are of the envelope and letter the Pierce County Elections office received, according to KVI Seattle radio host and reporter, Ari Hoffman:
EXCLUSIVE: Pierce County Elections confirmed that this is the letter it received yesterday that prompted the emergency response.— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) November 9, 2023
It had a white powdery substance on it and the building was evacuated pic.twitter.com/74vmT7pTk4
While previewing the images before confirmation from the election officials, Hoffman wrote in an earlier post on Twitter-X:
I have pictures of the letter that was sent to Pierce County elections yesterday promoting an evacuation.
I am verifying them right now.
If they are authentic, there is a reason the left doesn’t want you to see them.
Now, there’s a new incident in Georgia. On Thursday, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that the Fulton County elections office received what it believes to be a similar piece of mail tainted with the drug, WSB-TV reports: (emphasis original)
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed that there were reports of suspicious letters sent to election offices in multiple states and confirmed Fulton County was targeted.
Officials told Channel 2′s Justin Gray that the letter was laced with fentanyl and that officials are trying to intercept it before it arrives.
Sec. Raffensperger said his office is “working with our state and federal partners to determine if any additional Georgia officials are being targeted,” calling whoever sent the letter “[d]omestic terrorists”:
Domestic terrorists will not trample on our right to free and fair elections. Election officials should be free from fear and intimidation, which is why I’ve called on the General Assembly to increase penalties for election interference. We will work tirelessly to ensure that Georgia elections remain free, fair, and secure.
WSB-TV added that a DOJ spokesperson commented on the latest report out of Georgia:
We are aware of the reports and the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating this matter. We have no further comment at this time.
As this is a developing story, RedState will provide further details as they become available.