Many metro Atlantans confused whether they can vote in 6th District 

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Many metro Atlantans confused whether they can vote in 6th District 

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday is Election Day in the 6th Congressional District special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price, now the U.S. secretary of health and human services. If none of the 18 candidates in the race achieve a majority, the top two vote-getters will move on to a runoff set for June 20. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)

Elections boards around metro Atlanta have been slammed with calls for the past few weeks from voters who are confused about whether they can vote in the 6th congressional district.

For all Gwinnett County callers with that question, the answer is always the same: No. 

"Elections has fielded several dozen voter calls over the past two weeks asking about voting in the 6th ... . But as you know, the 6th does not include any Gwinnett County voting precincts," said Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson.

Georgia's 6th congressional district in metro Atlanta includes part of Cobb County, north Fulton County and DeKalb County. A special election on Tuesday, April 18 will name who will replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price.

That’s right. No part of Gwinnett County is in the 6th district; most of it is in the 7th, which is represented by Rep. Rob Woodall. The southern part of the county belongs to the 4th district, represented by Rep. Hank Johnson, and the far eastern side of Gwinnett is in the large 10th district, represented by Rep. Jody Hice. 

Voters in Bartow County, entirely in Rep. Barry Loudermilk’s 11th district, had the same problem as Gwinnettians, driving the county’s election commission to issue an official statement reminding residents that they do not have an election on April 18.

In Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties, the question gets a bit more complicated. Parts of each county are in the sixth district. Residents of north Fulton County, north DeKalb County and northeast Cobb County are all eligible to vote in the race today, but those outside of those areas are not.

The DeKalb County Registration and Elections office has been inundated with not only phone calls, but, at one point, a crowd of “more than 20 people” in their office’s parking lot saying they did not believe they could not vote in the 6th district race, said director H. Maxine Daniels.

The office worked in advance to educate DeKalb County voters on which areas could vote, but many people were confused by the barrage of pre-election ads that have been airing on local TV and radio.

“We issued a press release last week and our webpage has information about the precincts in this election, but we were unable to overcome the seemingly ubiquitous advertisements that stated to go out and vote if you were in DeKalb, Fulton or Cobb,” Daniels said. “Many voters understood immediately once we showed them the map but many others did not trust what we were saying or were very upset that they had been misled by the campaign media.”

Daniels said she had spent her entire morning on the phone with angry and confused voters, 95 percent of whom were not eligible to vote in the election.

Cobb County’s elections board has been getting a high volume of calls for the past two weeks, with the number spiking on election day. An elections board employee said the large numbers of ads and the “amount of publicity” the race has generated are likely the reasons they’re getting more calls than usual.

Learn more about the 6th district special election:

Candidates are vying to move onto a June runoff in competition for former Rep. Tom Price's seat.
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