Handel vs. Ossoff: 6th District race heads to runoff

By: Richard Elliot , Ross Cavitt , Carl Willis

Updated:

ATLANTA - The national spotlight will stay focused on Georgia for the next couple months as the 6th Congressional race heads for a runoff. 

Voters will again head to the polls on June 20 as Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel battle for current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's former seat.

We’re working to learn more about what’s next in the election for Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 

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Ossoff received48 percent of the votes. Handel came in second with 20 percent.

A total of 18 candidates ran to replace Price's former seat.

Results started to come in around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

[Click here for real-time election results]

Both candidates said they see the results as a win, as they spoke about the results late Tuesday night.

"We will be ready to fight on and win in June if necessary," Ossoff said overnight.

Handel echoed the same sentiments.

"Nine weeks from today, we have an opportunity to elect a member of Congress who shares our values," she said.

Ossoff looked to flip the traditionally red district to blue.

Republican candidates say the district will remain conservative.

"The views and values of a proven independent and conservative leader who has delivered for the people of this district," Handel said.




The day after the election, Channel 2 Action News spoke with Handel about election. She told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that she is very excited to be in the run-off.

Handel said President Trump called her Wednesday morning about the election.

“President Trump gave me a congratulatory call this morning and it was a great conversation. He was very encouraging, quite enthusiastic about me being the Republican going forward and I thanked him frankly for the robo call that he put out because that helped to make sure Republican turn out was able to match Democrat turn out, and that was key ,” Handel said.

Channel 2 Action News is working to interview Jon Ossoff later Wednesday afternoon.

Fulton County officials said due to data error from one of the cards, they had to manually go through hundreds of cards to find the culprit. Once the "bad card" was found, they were able to resume counting the votes.

Some believe Tuesday’s vote was a kind of early referendum on the Trump administration.

Democrats thought they could win it. Republicans are trying to hold onto what has always been considered a Conservative stronghold.

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Channel 2's Carl Willis went to Handel's headquarters in north Fulton County, where she was looking forward to a runoff.

"We cannot let an untested, unproved, inexperienced ally of Nancy Pelosi steal a seat that has been held by the great leaders of Tom Price, Johnny Isakson and Newt Gingrich," she said. 

Channel 2's Richard Elliot was at Ossoff's watch party in Dunwoody, where he, too, looked forward to continuing the race.

"Let's show what people power is all about. Let's show what it means when we say that we have more in common then we have apart. We reject fear and scapegoating and division. We choose to love one another and make things happen and to win," he said. 

Race gains national attention

When Elliot arrived at the Allgood Road polling place earlier in the day Tuesday, he found a crew from BuzzFeed interviewing Judie Stoker and her family.

“I think people are actually becoming more aware of politics and want to do something about the path this country's been on for the last eight years,” Stoker told Elliot.

National Democrats and Republicans poured money into the race.

Even President Trump is getting involved, firing off several tweets asking people to vote against Ossoff.

Elliot spoke with Natalie Smith after she cast her ballot. She thinks people are finally realizing local elections are important.

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“I recognize now more than ever that the local elections are more important, more and more important and I think a lot of people didn't realize that initially,” Smith said.

Voters confused about 6th district lines

The 6th Congressional race has gotten so much attention, people all over metro Atlanta asked about voting in it, even those outside the district.

Bartow County had to issue a news release Tuesday reminding voters they're in the 11th District and could not vote in Tuesday’s race.


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In Henry County, officials put up signs telling their voters they couldn't vote in this race either.

Mary Hein, 95, thinks voters should learn about their races before they vote.

“People just go, ‘Oh, it's voting time, let's go vote.’ But they don't know what they're voting for,” Hein told Elliot.

[Voters frustrated they couldn't vote in special election]

The 6th District covers parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties.

Fulton County extended voting hours beyond the 7 p.m. cutoff point at two polling locations. 

“Unfortunately, there were unforeseen staffing and equipment issues that caused these two polls to open late,” said Richard Barron, director of the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections. “As required by law, we are extending the operating times for these two locations to allow voters the complete 12 hours available to cast their ballots. All other polling locations will close at 7 p.m.”

Centennial High School's polls closed at 7:35 p.m.

The polling location at the Johns Creek Environmental Campus closed at 7:55 p.m.

The voters had to use a provisional paper ballot to vote after 7 p.m.

Voting smooth despite stolen voting machines

Voting went off in a Cobb County precinct Tuesday despite the fact thieves stole four computers meant to be used in the election.

According to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the equipment was stolen on Saturday evening from a vehicle parked at the Kroger on Canton Road in Cobb County.

The four so-called ExpressPoll machines were the computers poll workers used to check-in voters, and check those off who cast ballots for the Piedmont Road precinct in Marietta.

"If someone's in charge of the machines, they should take better care of them,” one voter told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt.

"How do they get these machines to the polling place? Do they just carry them around in their cars?" another voter asked.

In a matter of minutes, someone stole the bright shiny boxes containing the computers. It is unclear if they knew what they were, but those computers contain accessible voter information including names, addresses and driver’s license numbers, which worries voters.

"It really does. I mean we don't know what's going to happen," a voter told Cavitt.

"You cannot deviate from your plan of where you are taking it from and where you are delivering it to, it has to stay in a secured environment," security expert Brent Brown told Cavitt.

Brown said the incident shows Cobb Elections, and likely counties, need to up their security game, starting with taking the computers directly from the secured elections storage straight to the precincts.

Brown said the theft erodes confidence in our election system.

"If you're not controlling the voter equipment from a security standpoint, there's already enough questions about how the country's gone towards electronic voting, why open this up and not keep all of this secured and controlled so at least that part of it is unquestionable," Brown said.

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