Erie County Board of Elections evacuated after white powder was mailed; deemed non-hazardous

Substance declared not hazardous after midday investigation
Emergency vehicles outside of Erie County Board of Elections. September 28, 2020
Emergency vehicles outside of Erie County Board of Elections. September 28, 2020 Photo credit WBEN/Brendan Keany

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Erie County Board of Elections was evacuated after an employee opened an envelope that contained a white powdery substance.

The substance was declared non-hazardous.

The evacuation happened late-Monday morning. It is not currently clear what the substance is the prompted workers to leave. Emergency personnel, including the FBI's Hazardous Material Response Team, is tested the material along with the Buffalo Fire Department.

“We are very grateful to the Buffalo Fire Department, Buffalo police, and the Sheriff’s office and for their rapid and efficient response to this matter,” said Republican Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr. “This is obviously a very busy time for the Board, and we’re dealing with literally tens of thousands of pieces of mail as we draw nearer to the general election. We’re pleased this was brought to quick resolution with no risks to anyone’s health.”

“We take any potential threat to our employees and the public very seriously, and we can’t say enough about the great work our first responders did for us this morning,” said Democratic Commissioner Jeremy J. Zellner. “We will always take every possible precaution to keep people safe and keep the election process running smoothly.”