Letters containing substances including fentanyl sent to election officials in five states

Tuesday’s elections brought increased threats on election officials and workers across the country

Ariana Baio
Friday 10 November 2023 18:46 GMT
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Election officials are keeping a watchful eye on letters that arrive after a series of envelopes containing suspicious substances were sent to officials in Georgia, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington this past week.

Several election offices reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Postal Service Inspection Service that they received envelopes containing a “white powdery substance” and a threatening note about elections.

In Pierce County, Washington the auditor’s office shared a letter accompanied by the suspicious substance that read “End elections now”, according to The Associated Press.

Another “very similar” letter sent to the elections office in King County, Washington during the August primary contained fentanyl, elections director Julie Wise said.

Now, federal law enforcement officials are looking for the person responsible for sending the letters.

In a statement obtained by the AP, the FBI said it was responding to “multiple incidents” regarding suspicious letters sent to ballot counting centres.

Among the offices targeted this past week are in Fulton County, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; Lane County, Oregon; Spokane, Washington and Nevada.

Four out of the five letters found contained fentanyl the FBI reported.

Dean Logan, the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder / County County Clerk said in a statement that the suspicious letters are “a threat to free and fair elections.”

“This incident should not discourage anyone from participating in our democratic process. Your vote matters, and we are committed to ensuring the safety and integrity of our elections,” Mr Logan said.

“We encourage voters to remain engaged and confident in the security measures we have in place. We remain vigilant and will pursue enforcement against any attempt to disrupt our operations."

The Independent has reached out to the FBI and US Postal Service Inspection Service for comment.

The new wave of suspicious letters is a reminder of the increase in threats and intimidation that election workers are facing – something that can be tied to the widespread false allegations of voter fraud in 2020.

Some far-right activists have been accused of intimidating voters or election workers, believing the democratic election process is “rigged” due to former president Donald Trump’s claims.

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