The Congress seat in Georgia’s Sixth District has been quietly Republican since 1979, but the Donald Trump presidency is threatening to create a big upset. Democratic candidate and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff is giving Republicans a run for their money in a special election being held today, and he’s being met with fierce opposition in the way of corruption. His campaign signs reading “Vote Your Ossoff” have been blatantly stolen in broad daylight, and voting machines have been stolen as well, reports WSB-TV Atlanta.
Georgia’s Sixth District has never had a problem with voter fraud or corruption before. But it appears to be happening a lot with congressional hopeful Jon Ossoff’s campaign. It’s a highly-contested race, which is unusual for this district, and the stakes are high.
So high, that some are going to extreme measures to swing things their way. WSB-TV reports that Cobb County police are investigating the theft of voting machines that occurred Saturday evening. The machines were in the vehicle of the Cobb County precinct manager Saturday night, then they were stolen from a parked vehicle on Canton Road.
Even more peculiar, the machines were not reported stolen until Monday. This made Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp very displeased. The machines were called Express Poll machines, and contain the information of voters. As the voters come into their polling stations to cast ballots, the names are checked off of the Express Poll machines.
Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler says that since the machines have been recovered, they can not be used to cast votes and that the information is difficult to access. She also said the voting machines have been replaced. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp released a statement Monday afternoon.
“It is unacceptable that the Cobb County Elections Office waited two days to notify my office of this theft. We have opened an investigation, and we are taking steps to ensure that it has no effect on the election tomorrow. I am confident that the results will not be compromised.”
Candice Broce, a spokesperson for Brian Kemp, added that safeguards have been in place and the existing machines have been re-coded so that the information on the stolen machines can not be used reports WABE. She also cautioned voters to watch for identity theft.
In addition to voting machines being stolen, signs for the Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff have also reportedly been stolen, in broad daylight. Some of his campaign signs read, “Vote Your Ossoff” and a man was filmed on camera taking them down on Easter Sunday and putting them in the trunk of his car. As the man stole the signs, he told the person filming him, “Tell John Podesta I said hello” repeatedly.
John Podesta was the campaign chair for Hillary Clinton, and a frequent target of the alt-right during Elections 2016 and Wiki Leaks dumps of illegally obtained Podesta emails. Taking down campaign signs is illegal, and the authorities have been alerted by savvy Georgians who caught the act on tape.
— Tamara Stevens (@TWareStevens) April 16, 2017
Cobb County, the county where the voting machines and signs were stolen from is part of Georgia’s Sixth District. The seat up for grabs is being voted on in a special election and was previously held by Tom Price, who is now Donald Trump’s health secretary. Many Republicans thought that the seat would easily be filled by the next Republican on the ticket, but Democrat Jon Ossoff is showing them otherwise.
Democrat Jon Ossoff is one of 18 candidates on the ticket in the special election that is happening today. The remaining 17 candidates are Republican. Any candidate needs 50 percent of the votes today to win the seat in Congress. If that does not happen, a runoff election will happen in June.
Many are saying that the race is too close to call and that Jon Ossoff, who leads in the polls at around 45 percent, will not make the 50 percent cutoff. But neither will any of the other candidates with the remaining 55 percent in the polls being split among 17 Republicans. If Ossoff does not make the 50 percent, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will race in a June runoff for Georgia’s sixth.
GOP pollster Whit Ayres told the L.A. Times that the race is not as clear cut for Republicans as they would like it to be.
“All you need to know about this district is Mitt Romney won it by 22 points, and Trump won it by one and a half points.”
Voters lined up this weekend to cast early ballots and echoed these sentiments, that were not in favor of the Republican Trump era. Jeffrey Chou, a 25-year-old graduate student, said the following when casting his early ballot for Jon Ossoff.
“The Trump administration is scary. I don’t like what they are doing. I felt it was important to come out and send a message that we don’t support it.”
A 60-year-old nurse was in line with Chou and said the same, having voted for Tom Price in the last election. She referred to the Trump Administration as “insanity at the White House.” She was joined in line by a 38-year-old woman who is not only switching from Republican to Democrat for this vote but she also even canvassed for Jon Ossoff in this hotly contested election.
A doctor who was also in his 60’s said he too voted for Tom Price, but has now believed in the mission behind “Vote Your Ossoff” and was voting Ossoff to “stick it in the eyes of Trump.”
A GOP loyalist, 52-year-old Max Wagerman, told the L.A. Times, “Republicans here are just too lazy and the liberals are going to get this one.” With this momentum, Jon Ossoff has been everywhere, in TV ads, bumper stickers, and lawn signs. But the lawn signs appear to be disappearing as fast as he can get them up.
But that hasn’t touched his poll numbers, or the voter sentiment. Even Republicans today are saying, “Vote your Ossoff.”
Jon Ossoff has received record-breaking fundraising as this hotly contested race has gained national attention, and also the attention of many celebrities. Samuel L. Jackson has come to help him, as has actress Alyssa Milano. Georgians seeking to flip the sixth or cast their vote and need a ride to the polls can call any of these numbers.
— Meredith Brasher (@__dith__) April 18, 2017
Donald Trump has expressed his concern as well by tweeting to Republicans to show up for Georgia’s Sixth. He tweeted the following.
“The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressional race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration, and raise taxes!”
But many, including Jon Ossoff himself, were quick to correct Donald Trump. This is not at all the platform Jon Ossoff has run on. He fired back at Trump, saying he was “misinformed” and that he’s focusing on “bringing fresh leadership, accountability, and bipartisan problem solving to Washington.”
TheNew York Daily News reports that early ballots showed many were following through on the “Vote Your Ossoff” campaign, and Ossoff saw a huge surge. But more Republicans reportedly voted than Democrats. Even so, as noted, many Republicans were not necessarily voting Republican when they showed up to cast their ballot. One Republican told the New York Daily News that Republicans shouldn’t bank yet on the fact that Ossoff will lose.
“The emerging conventional wisdom that Ossoff can’t get to 50 on Tuesday is troubling. He has a clear path according to the data that we have.”
As voters in Georgia’s Sixth District go to the polls today, Cobb County police are investigating the stolen voting machines, and the stolen Vote Your Ossoff signs. The results of that investigation are not expected to be clear before the polls close tonight.
[Featured Image by Alex Sanz/AP Images]