An issue raised by a Forsyth County resident may have had a role in changing a federal voting website.
Leading up to the recent special election for the seat of Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, Forsyth County resident John Whichard said he came across an article correctly stating advance voting would be open to residents of Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties.
But, according to the U.S. House of Representatives website, Whichard lives in the Sixth District. Forsyth County is divided, with the southern portion going to U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall’s District 7 and the north to District 9, represented by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins.
“I had been under the assumption, based on the House.gov website, that I was also in the Sixth District, so I had assumed part of Forsyth County was in the Sixth District,” Whichard said.
The error was due to an irregularity which showed Whichard the misinformation.
“When you put that zip code and extension in the email system with Rob Woodall, it comes up as kicking you out or it failing,” he said. “When you put it in the House system, it doesn’t put you with Woodall either.”
Officials with Woodall’s office said the issue was brought to the attention of the website’s administrators, which has since corrected it.
Whichard lives in Forsyth County, but has an Alpharetta address. Woodall’s office said the website used mailing information, which has previously been a source of other issues for county residents with a mailing address other than Cumming, including jury duty and school zoning information when searching or a home.
The information is correct at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, sos.ga.gov.
Whichard said the error could have similarly affected other voters in the area, which could cause issues for voting or reaching out to their representative. He said at least five other neighborhoods have the same zip code and extension.
The mix up could not have affected the election, which narrowly was sent to a runoff between Democrat Jon Ossoff, who earned 48.1 percent of the vote, and Republican Karen Handel, who secured 19.8 percent of the vote, since the only obstacle would have been people thinking they lived in the Sixth District showing up to the polls to be turned away.
It may have been worse had there been an election for Rob Woodall’s District 7, with residents not realizing they were eligible to vote on that ballot.
“When people move into an area or people move into a new district or want to shop for a house,” he said. “They want to see who the congressman is that represents the area, because that congressman usually represents the consensus of the people in that area.”