News Briefs

‘Suspicious letter’ prompted evacuation of Kansas Secretary of State’s Office

By: - November 15, 2023 5:01 pm

On Tuesday, a "suspicious" letter was sent to Secretary of State Scott Schwab's office. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

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.

“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.”

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Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.