MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Suspicious materials, including fentanyl, mailed to King, Okanogan election officials

Aug 4, 2023, 8:04 AM | Updated: 9:50 am

suspicious materials election officials...

Suspicious letters sent to election officials in King and Okanogan counties have triggered a state investigation, according to a media release. (Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Suspicious letters sent to election officials in King and Okanogan counties have triggered a state investigation, according to a media release.

Local, state, and federal authorities are investigating the incidents, which happened while election officials were processing ballots from the Aug. 1 Primary election.

Elections Director: Congress needs to act for election security

In King County, a suspicious letter was received Monday, which analysis revealed contained trace amounts of fentanyl.

In Okanogan County, the courthouse was evacuated Wednesday after a report of an envelope with an unidentified substance. That substance is being tested.

“Elections offices in every county in Washington have had to develop emergency plans and protective strategies for events like these, which should serve as a sobering reminder of the dangers that surround our elections process and elections workers,” Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said. “My office and I will provide all the resources at our disposal to any county that needs help confronting any challenge, and will continue to advocate for stronger protection for all elections workers.”

Because both investigations are ongoing, the Office of the Secretary of State can provide no further information about either incident. No connection is known between the two situations.

In July, Hobbs announced the availability of up to $80,000 in election-security funding for each Washington county that uses a cybersecurity prevention sensor to monitor security risks. This is the second year for this funding program, which distributed more than $1.57 million during fiscal year 2022-23 for county election security.

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Suspicious materials, including fentanyl, mailed to King, Okanogan election officials