Election offices throughout the U.S., including a key battleground state, have been hit by suspicious letters carrying a powdery substance, with some testing positive for fentanyl. These incidents have prompted the evacuation of multiple election offices, resulting in delays to the ballot counting process.
Letters sent to election offices in Georgia, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington are said to have been “intercepted” in some instances before reaching their intended destinations. The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service have verified that four of these letters contained fentanyl.
As we previously reported, four county election offices in Washington State were evacuated on Tuesday after workers received envelopes containing a mysterious white powder.
Alarmingly, testing uncovered that fentanyl was present in the substance found in two of these offices. The incident took place while election workers were in the midst of processing ballots.
Counties impacted by this include King, Skagit, Spokane, and Pierce. The Pierce County auditor’s office in Tacoma, Washington, was among the first ones to report the reception of an envelope postmarked in Portland, Oregon.
The letter that came with the powder contained an alarming message: “End elections now. Stop giving power to the right that they don’t have. We are in charge now and there is no more need for them.”
The letter added, “Also be aware your ballot drops are very susceptible to noxious chemicals like am/bl, they are unsafe to the public just saying.”
The letters have featured symbols associated with ANTIFA, a progress pride flag, and a pentagram.
More from the Seattle Times:
The offices in Spokane and King counties received envelopes with traces of fentanyl. No employees were harmed by the substance. Fentanyl cannot cause overdoses from contact.
No staffers appeared to become ill, said King County Elections spokesperson Halei Watkins, but hazmat crews and law enforcement cleared the office. The investigation in King County was turned over to the FBI.
At the Pierce County Elections Office, an elections worker found an envelope that dispersed a white powdery substance. It was later found to be baking soda.
The explosives disposal unit and the Spokane Fire Department hazmat team responded to and evacuated the Spokane County Elections office after, again, a piece of mail with powder was opened around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The employee who opened it was not harmed.
As reported by the Associated Press Steve Hobbs, a former state senator from Lake Stevens and the current Secretary of State, referred to the attacks on Wednesday as “acts of terrorism to threaten our elections.”
Another targeted office was Fulton County in Georgia, a crucial voting jurisdiction in presidential elections.
As a precautionary measure, officials have dispatched naloxone, a drug used to reverse overdoses, to the office. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has condemned these acts as domestic terrorism.
“This is domestic terrorism, and it needs to be condemned by anyone that holds elected office and anyone that wants to hold elective office anywhere in America,” said Raffensperger.
A potentially fentanyl-laced letter has been sent and is on the way to a Fulton County Elections Office, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The letter was part of a batch of five letters — four went to elections offices in Washington state and contained suspicious powders. At least two of those letters tested positive for fentanyl. Federal authorities discovered that a fifth letter was addressed to the Fulton County Elections Office in Fairburn, and they alerted Georgia authorities.
“It’s still in transit. It hasn’t arrived yet,” Raffensperger said at a press conference on Thursday. “We’re trying to intercept it before it gets here.”
Raffensperger said the Fulton County Elections Office is prepared in case the letter arrives there, including taking training on naloxone, the spray known as NARCAN that treats opioid overdoses.
Raffensperger’s office put out a notice about the incident to all 159 counties across the state.
The consequences of these incidents go beyond the immediate risk to public health and safety. The interruption in vote counting resulting from these evacuations has the possibility to undermine the integrity of the votes. Holding Antifa accountable and designating it as a terrorist organization is crucial.
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