‘Extra precautions’ taken at county ballot processing center


Elections officials in Thurston County took what Auditor Mary Hall called “a lot of special precautions” to protect ballot processing workers starting on Election Day.

Following the discovery of unidentified white powder in envelopes received by elections offices in King, Pierce, Skagit, and Spokane counties yesterday, members of the Thurston County Sheriff’s office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security trained elections workers. “We have a lot of special procedures,” Hall told The JOLT tonight, including “wearing masks where typically they just wear gloves.”

No powder has been found to date in an official Thurston County ballot envelope.

As a precaution, ballot processing workers were sent home early today at 4:30 so that specially trained staff could open mailbags.

One seasonal election worker told The JOLT that today’s morning briefing by Homeland Security officials ended with a message advising anyone who was uncomfortable that they are “free to go.”  “There were 65 of us in the room. No one left,” the worker said.

Most seasonal election workers are retired individuals who process ballots each election cycle and are paid at the minimum wage.


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