A sixth county election office received a suspicious envelope filled with white powder shortly after Washington's General Election.
The envelope and letter
Pierce County Auditor's Office
The Pierce County Auditor's Office released photos of the envelope and the letter they received on Wednesday.
The message in the letter reads, "END ELECTIONS NOW" and "Stop giving power to the right that they don't have."
Looking closely at the photo, white powder can be seen on the letter.
The letter also leaves the following warning:
"Also be aware your ballot drops are very susceptible to noxious chemicals like AM/BL. They are unsafe to the public. Just saying."
FBI Seattle released the following statement on Thursday:
FBI Seattle, along with our law enforcement partners, responded to multiple incidents involving suspicious letters sent to ballot counting centers in Washington state. 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. The FBI would also like to remind everyone to exercise care in handling mail, especially from unrecognized senders. If you see something suspicious, please contact law enforcement immediately.
Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said precautions have been taken to keep employees and visitors safe.
"The safety of staff and observers is paramount as elections workers across the state open envelopes and count each voter’s ballot," Secretary Hobbs said. "These incidents underscore the critical need for stronger protections for all election workers. Democracy rests upon free and fair elections. These incidents are acts of terrorism to threaten our elections."
On Thursday, Snohomish County Elections received a piece of mail matching the description of suspicious mail received in four other counties across the state.
According to the Snohomish County Auditor's Office, the mail was quickly isolated and not opened. Federal authorities have been notified and are now leading the investigation.
This office will continue to process and count ballots for the Nov. 7 General Election. Results will be certified on Nov. 28.
King County Elections Office in Renton, Washington. (FOX 13 Seattle)
FOX 13 reached out to the King County election headquarters, who reported receiving an envelope containing white powder.
After investigating the substance, the Renton Police Department (RPD) announced the powder tested positive for traces of fentanyl.
The exact percentage of fentanyl is unknown. The RPD is now investigating the incident with the FBI.
The office says the envelope in question was opened with regular mail. It was not in a ballot or arrive with other ballots.
Per protocol, the fire alarm was pulled at the building, so fire crews could arrive and investigate a possible hazmat situation. The building has since reopened.
The election office is anticipating their ballot counting to be delayed.
At around 10:20 a.m., crews responded to a hazmat situation at Spokane County Elections.
According to Justin de Tuyter with the Spokane Fire Department, the building was evacuated after an employee opened an envelope containing a white powder-like substance.
The Spokane Police Department tested the substance and discovered traces of fentanyl. They also tested the powder for other chemical/ biological agents, explosive compounds and controlled substances; all of which returned negative.
There are no injuries to report at this location.
Vicky Dalton, Spokane County Auditor, says staff were sent home for the day before learning the building would be cleared by the Spokane Police and Fire departments. Due to this, election results will be released at a later date.
Just after 11 a.m., the Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) sent out an alert saying crews were investigating a possible hazardous substance found at the voter registration building in the 2500 block of S 35th St.
The TFD says crews mitigated the situation and determined the building was safe to occupy.
The Skagit County election office also received an envelope with white powder on Wednesday. This was also not mailed in with other ballots.
The worker who opened the envelope was wearing gloves and a mask, according to Jen Rogers with Skagit County Elections.
The building was evacuated, and the sheriff's department and hazmat crew are investigating the scene.
No injuries were reported.
The Washington Secretary of State's office is aware of the situations happening in all four counties and says these are the only locations to receive envelopes filled with the powder-like substance. A statement regarding the importance of safe elections is expected to be released later in the day.
Back in August, suspicious substances were found in mail sent to election offices in King and Okanogan counties.
The King County envelope had trace amounts of fentanyl.
The substance in the Okanogan County envelope was not a harmful substance.