SEATTLE – Four county election offices in Washington state were evacuated Wednesday after receiving envelopes containing suspicious powders. According to several news sources, including the Associated Press, two envelopes field-tested positive for fentanyl.
“These incidents are acts of terrorism to threaten our elections,” said Secretary of State Steve Hobbs in a statement.
In response, local, state, and federal authorities have launched investigations into the matter. The incident occurred while workers were processing ballots from the recent Nov. 7 general election, which featured local and county races and measures, including a closely contested mayoral race in Spokane and City Council elections in Seattle.
“These incidents underscore the critical need for stronger protections for all election workers. Democracy rests upon free and fair elections,” said Hobbs.
This is not the first instance of fentanyl being sent to election offices in the state. Earlier, during the state’s Aug. 1 primary, two Washington county election officials received envelopes containing suspicious substances. One of these envelopes was found to contain traces of fentanyl, while the other was determined to be harmless. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in any of the cases.