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‘Suspicious letter’ prompted evacuation of Kansas Secretary of State office

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TOPEKA — A “suspicious letter” was delivered to the state’s top election official’s office Tuesday, and the building was evacuated as a precaution.

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s office was shut down for the rest of the day.

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“With recent events, we take such things as a suspicious substance very serious,” Schwab said. “Our team is trained if they see something, say something.”

Melissa Underwood, communications director for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said Wednesday that preliminary testing indicated the substance inside the letter was non-hazardous. Final lab results have not been released.

In July, approximately 100 letters containing white powder were sent to Republican legislators and public officials in Kansas. No one was injured in the incident, though some legislators have spoken about ongoing emotional stress. Following last week’s election, election offices in at least five states were sent threatening mail, some containing fentanyl, according to reports.

“At this time, there is no reason to believe this incident is related to the letters containing white powder sent to numerous Legislators and officials in June,” Underwood said. “It also does not appear connected to recent incidents in other states where suspicious mail was sent to ballot counting centers.”

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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