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Washington's Secretary of State calls out 'domestic terrorists' who disrupted elections


This photo shows the suspicious envelope that was sent to a Pierce County election center on the afternoon of Nov. 9, 2023. Five Washington state counties have been sent suspicious mail since the start of the general election began on Nov. 7, 2023. (KOMO News)
This photo shows the suspicious envelope that was sent to a Pierce County election center on the afternoon of Nov. 9, 2023. Five Washington state counties have been sent suspicious mail since the start of the general election began on Nov. 7, 2023. (KOMO News)
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The FBI is investigating after at least five election offices across Washington state were sent similar threatening letters containing white powdery substances. Some of those letters came back positive for traces of fentanyl.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs told KOMO they expect more will turn up as ballots continue to be processed.

“These domestic terrorists are trying to disrupt our elections,” Hobbs said. “They’re not successful, but what they are doing is causing our elections workers to have fear, and that’s something we don’t want because they didn’t sign up for this.”

So far in Washington state, threats have been sent to at least five counties: Skagit, Snohomish, King, Pierce, and Spokane counties.

Similar letters are also popping up nationwide in Oregon, Georgia, Nevada, and California, but Hobbs said the letters mostly appear to be concentrated in Washington state.

Pierce County shared a bulletin that went out to multiple offices, showing a picture of the letter and the envelope it came in, warning elections workers to be on the lookout. That letter appeared to be postmarked in Portland.

“They have similarities, and that’s why when Snohomish County received theirs, they saw it and did not open it because of the similarities,” Hobbs said.

The letter stated:

“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. ALSO, BE AWARE YOUR BALLOT DROPS ARE VERY SUCEPTIBLE TO NOXIOUS CHEMICALS LIKE AM/BL. THEY ARE UNSAFE TO THE PUBLIC. JUST SAYING.”

The letter also included various symbols and flags. King County officials said that letter is almost the same as one sent to their office during the primaries in August.

“Talking about the white powder, talking about needing Narcan, talking about stopping and ending elections – they intend to break elections administrators,” King County Elections Director Julie Wise said.

Some of the letters contain traces of fentanyl, while others have been baking soda. Hobbs told KOMO News the fentanyl appears to be diluted or cut with another substance.

“We’ve already offered to the counties the cost to cover PPE if they need to do that to lower the risk of fentanyl exposure,” Hobbs said, “Our elections are very transparent. There’s no need to harass a worker. There’s no need to send fentanyl through the mail.”

Hobbs went on to say he hopes these recent events will highlight the need for the Election Workers Protection Act his office has been pushing for over the last three years. The proposed legislation would make threatening an elections worker a Class C Felony.

“If you have questions about the elections, go to your county auditor or go to your elections director, ask them questions, see the process going on because they will let you do it,” Hobbs said.

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