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Government and Politics

A final tally of 15 votes separates winner and loser in Akron judge race
More than 27,000 votes were cast, and the incumbent is squeaking by

Mark Urycki
Director of Summit County Board of Elections Joe Masich shows the board examples of some mutilated ballots that were added to the final tally Thursday.
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In The Region:
What is likely to be the final count on an Akron Municipal Court judge race gives the edge to the incumbent, Katarina Cook, a Republican.  On election night one month ago, the count favored challenger Jon Oldham, a Democrat, by 16 votes. Now a recount favors Cook by 15 votes.
Oldham vs. Cook

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Summit County Probate Court Magistrate Jon Oldham went to bed on election night thinking he had just won a six-year term on the Akron Municipal Court.  But of more than 27,000 votes cast, he led by only 16, sparking an automatic recount.  

Provisional ballots and some absentee ballots were counted weeks later and incumbent Katarina Cook became the leader.  

“This is a scenario that I never anticipated when I thought about how Nov. 5th would play out," Oldham said. "I’m unsure how I feel about everything.”

This week a portion of the ballots were counted by hand, and Oldham asked to be able to inspect each ballot himself. The board asked Secretary of State Jon Husted to interpret the rules and he decided Oldham’s side can watch them being counted but handle the ballots. Oldham's not sure whether he’ll appeal that decision.

“That’ll be a discussion I’ll have to have along with my supporters and my attorney.”

A realistic shot after all
Three more ballots came into play this week when two mutilated ballots and one uncounted ballot were added to mix. But they did not change the course of the race. Oldham had an uphill battle as a first-time candidate running against a female incumbent but he says  he’ll probably run again.

“What I set out to do was in fact a very realistic mission and had I had some support from some of those people who didn’t think I stood a chance, we could have very likely a different result there.”

Another close race – for Tallmadge City Council -- was settled with a recount of some Portage County votes. Democrat Kim Ray maintained her lead in that race. The Board of Elections will make the races final when they certify the votes on Monday.

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