Suspicious substance found in ballot envelope at election office - KPTV - FOX 12

Suspicious substance found in ballot envelope at election office

Posted: Updated: May 13, 2013 09:09 PM

A scare at the Multnomah County Elections Office sent hazmat crews scrambling after an employee noticed a ballot envelope rattled at the touch and contained clear crystals.

The incident happened just after 4 p.m. Monday as the county prepares for a special election next week.

Several things are on the ballot, including a vote on the controversial issue of fluoride in city water.

At this point investigators don't know what the white substance was. But they told FOX 12 that they have ruled out the possibility of anthrax.

Investigators believe the person who sent in the envelope placed it in a drop box outside of the elections office and took off.

An employee at the Multnomah County Elections Office reportedly knew something wasn't right about the ballot envelope from the moment they heard it rattle.

So, they took the envelope immediately to their supervisor, who was also taken back by what was inside.

"When I was examining the envelope a couple of clear crystals fell out onto desk, they were clear, small and flat," said Tim Scott, director of Multnomah County Election.

Scott says he then scooped all of that material that fell out of the envelope and sealed it up into another one while employees called for help.

"It was like nothing we've ever seen before, I've never had any sort of a threat like that here," said Scott.

The building was evacuated and the ventilation system was disabled as a precaution while the hazmat team began collecting samples of the substance.

Only three employees came in contact with the substance, and no one suffered any abnormal reactions.

The FBI is now handling the investigation, and agents plan to run more tests on the substance. Those agents hope to know more about the substance by Tuesday afternoon.

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