6th District vote: Fulton extends polling hours; DeKalb and Cobb smooth

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6th District vote: Fulton extends polling hours; DeKalb and Cobb smooth

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David Barnes/DAVID BARNES / SPECIAL
April 18, 2017, Alpharetta - Alpharetta resident Toni Kuhn, left, hands her voter card to Birdel Jackson III, center, at Alpharetta Fire Station 82 in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Cobb, Fulton and North DeKalb residents cast ballots today for the highly contested 6th Congressional District race. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district have reported few problems Tuesday across the three-county region, although flare-ups have occurred. 

The most concerning is in Fulton County, where a judge agreed to let Fulton County keep two precincts open past 7 p.m. 

Problems at Centennial High School and the Johns Creek Environmental Campus led county leaders to seek permission continue accepting ballots past the normal cutoff

Any polling problem on an election day is serious, but Tuesday’s 6th District race has garnered national attention as one of the first tests of President Donald Trump’s coattails, or lack thereof. 

Also in Fulton, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman confirmed that her agency removed two illegal banners from the Encore Boulevard bridge over Georgia 400. One urged voters to “Flip the Sixth,” and another said “Vote Blue.”

Still in Fulton, Candice Broce, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said they received reports early Tuesday that a machine used to check-in voters in a Johns Creek precinct were not properly set up. 

“We sent out an investigator and they were able to get it pretty quickly resolved,” she said. 

Johns Creek is in a unique situation where one set of machines is being used for the congressional race and another set for a city election. 

In Roswell, Broce said long lines at one precinct, although she said that appears to have been an issue related to poll workers’ training. 

Meanwhile, many Metro Atlanta voters are getting a civics lesson. Calls to media outlets, county election officials and in postings to social media have exposed a problem: Many voters don’t know in which district they live. 

Exasperated voters arrived at their typical polling locations only to find them empty. The cause? They’re in the 11th, or 5th, or 4th districts, none of which are on the ballot Tuesday. 

But, safely inside the 6th in Marietta earlier Tuesday, Stephanie DeWitt said Karen Handel was her choice.

Handel is seen as the main Republican contender against north DeKalb County native Jon Ossoff, who as a Democrat, has polled a few digits short of the 50 percent plus one he’d need to avoid a June 20 runoff.

DeWitt said she didn’t realize the passion surrounding this congressional special election was until it seemed Ossoff campaign signs — funded by his whopping $8.3 million of donations — were everywhere she looked.  

“I think this election is more important than I thought,” she said.

Meanwhile, in DeKalb, where no problems were reported, attorney Patrick White cast his ballot for Ossoff. 

White, voting at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church in Brookhaven, a precinct that went for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, said he chose Ossoff because Georgia is too conservative and the Republican party is headed in the “wrong direction.”  

“I’m a big opponent of our former congressman,” White said, referring to Tom Price, who left the seat to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services. “I’ve been voting against him for years.”

Staff writers Joshua Sharpe, Mitchell Northam and Ben Brasch contributed.

Tom Price’s congressional seat is vacant since he accepted a position in the Trump administration. www.accessatlanta.com
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