HAZMAT team shuts down polling place


(Boston Herald)

A suspicious white powder found amid a stack of absentee ballots temporarily closed a Boston polling place yesterday, officials say.

As thousands of voters flocked to 735 Shawmut Ave. to cast their ballots, Stephanie Thomas, a clerk, saw the white substance amid the ballots.

“As we were going through absentee ballots, I observed a lot of white substances,” Thomas told the Herald. “I told the warden to call the election department. The hazmat team came, the fire and police department. They cleared the place.”

Officials shut down the polling place temporarily at about 5 p.m. and reopened it by 5:30 p.m.

“I was very surprised,” Thomas said. “I tried to keep a low profile. I didn’t want to worry voters.”

The warden was taken to the hospital for observation after touching the substances, Thomas said.

The temporary closure came amid a busy turnout for the midterm elections, with nearly 2,000 voters casting their ballots by midafternoon yesterday at the Roxbury polling station.

“We’ve had no break,” Thomas said.

Boston police said after investigation the substance was determined to be innocuous and not suspicious.

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