PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local election officials are on high alert after packages containing fentanyl were sent to election officials in Georgia and Washington State.
Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said he was notified by the Illinois State Board of Elections in August about a similar incident during the 2022 election cycle.
His office partnered with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office and Tazewell County Health Department to ensure his staff knows what to look for so they are prepared for any situation. They also have Narcan on hand.
“They are looking for anything suspicious like not being properly addressed or labeled, not in the envelope it’s supposed to be in…too much postage, anything that’s leaking or anything that’s coming out of the container, envelope. It should just be a ballot, it shouldn’t have other materials in there,” said Ackerman.
Ackerman said any efforts to intimidate election officials will not work.
“I think it’s an attempt by some to disrupt elections, to cause confusion and chaos. I condemn any individual that would do this. This isn’t the way to handle these types of situations, especially when you’re putting employees, volunteers’ lives at risk,” he said.
Jessily Joseph, assistant executive director at Peoria County Election Commission, said they implemented new mail inspection policies after receiving the August note from ISBE. Out of an abundance of caution, every piece of mail is now handled with gloves and masks.
McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said her office is aware of the fentanyl-laced packages as well. They are in the process of developing guidelines for staff.