Initial tests turned up traces of fentanyl in the package, which was mailed to the elections department in Yuba County, a rural area north of Sacramento, California’s capital.
The county spokesperson said the envelope did not look suspicious at first and appeared to come from a “verified agency.” The worker who opened the package notified police after finding powder inside, and never touched the substance.
“We are grateful that no one was harmed in this incident and we will continue to exercise caution as we perform the important work of conducting elections,” Donna Hillegass, the Yuba County elections clerk-recorder, told a local news outlet.
Elections offices across the country have faced threats and harassment since 2020, when Donald Trump and his allies repeatedly cast doubt on the nation’s election integrity and accused his opponents of stealing the election from him.
In California, the threats tend to occur in small, rural counties, which lean right in comparison with the rest of the strongly Democratic state. Elections officials in nearby Nevada and Shasta counties recently took extra precautions to beef up office security since November’s elections.
The Yuba office was one of many equipped with naloxone, the narcotics overdose reversal medication. The practice of stocking elections offices with Narcan increased after fentanyl-laced letters were sent to a number of them in California and five other states in November.