Authorities investigating ‘suspicious’ envelopes sent to election offices in Washington, Georgia


(SPOKANE, Wash.) — Authorities in at least two states are investigating a spate of suspicious envelopes sent to election offices this week in what one state official called an act of “domestic terrorism.”

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said in a statement Thursday that envelopes containing “unknown powdery substances” were discovered Wednesday by election workers in several counties, prompting evacuations of those offices.

An initial test of white powdery substance from one envelope that was sent to the county elections office tested positive for fentanyl, the Spokane Police Department said.

Another letter sent to an election office in Washington State had a substance that tested positive for baking soda, not fentanyl, Officer Shelbie Boyd of the Tacoma Police Department told ABC News. The state will take it to a lab for additional testing.

Chris Loftis, the director of communications for Washington State Patrol, said a state bomb squad that responded to an election office in Pierce County on Wednesday found a message advising that the intent of the letter was to “stop the election.”

In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed that election workers in Fulton County were sent a suspicious letter and that no other counties in the state appear to have been targeted.

The letter was intercepted before it arrived at the election office, Raffensperger said at a press conference. No motive has been determined, he said.

“We’re working with our state and federal partners to determine if any additional Georgia officials are being targeted,” Raffensperger said in a statement earlier. “Domestic terrorists will not trample on our right to free and fair elections.”

A Fulton County spokesperson said no additional information was immediately available.

The Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI were also investigating Thursday a letter containing an unknown substance that was sent to the Attorney General of Texas’ office, according to law enforcement. Initial tests on the substance came back negative, officials said.

It is unclear if the letter sent to the Texas AG’s office is connected to the ones sent to election offices in Washington and Georgia.

Threats to election workers have become more frequent in recent years, prompting a troubling exodus from their ranks in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

A DOJ spokesperson said in a statement Thursday, “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.”

FBI offices in Atlanta and Spokane confirmed that they were collaborating with local law enforcement to investigate the incidents.

“FBI Seattle, along with our law enforcement partners, responded to multiple incidents involving suspicious letters sent to ballot counting centers in Washington state,” the office said. “As this is an ongoing matter, we do not have any further comment but the public can be assured that law enforcement will continue to keep the public’s safety as its top priority.”

ABC News’ Jack V. Date and Luke Barr contributed to this report.

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