Unofficial results on Election Day showed Akron Municipal Judge Katarina Cook trailing Magistrate Jon Oldham by 16 votes.
The Summit County Board of Elections reported Monday, however, that Cook has taken the lead after provisional and absentee ballots were counted, now winning by 17 votes.
The race is close enough that it will trigger an automatic recount, which is done when the outcome is separated by a margin less than 0.5 percent.
Cook, who said she had been “holding her breath” until the results were in and took Monday off, was pleased by the new outcome.
“I want to thank the voters for the confidence they have shown in my being judge,” she said in a phone interview. “I look forward to being judge for six more years.”
Oldham, a magistrate in Summit County Probate Court, was disappointed in the turnaround. He said he doesn’t hold out much hope that the votes will swing back in his favor with the recount.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I know it’s not yet over.”
Oldham said one positive from the election was the support he received from the community.
The flip means the Republican Party held onto its two Akron judicial seats.
“We’re pretty happy,” Summit County GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff said. “One more and we can tie that court up.”
The Cook-Oldham race was one of four too-close-to call contests in Summit County in the Nov. 5 election. The outcomes in the other races, however, didn’t change.
The elections board held a lengthy meeting Monday to decide which provisional ballots and absentee ballots that were received after the election but postmarked before the deadline should be counted.
The board also added in the ballots from early voters in Akron’s Ward 10 who were issued a new ballot after the Ohio Supreme Court granted ballot access to an independent council candidate. The board waited to put these votes in the mix to see if voters opted to submit the updated ballot.
The board will meet next Tuesday to certify the election, then will decide when the recount should be conducted.
New election results show:
• Cook leading Oldham, 13,887 to 13,870.
• Northfield Councilman John Schlueter, who represents Ward C, continues to trail Gary Vojtush Sr., 66-63. The totals remained the same.
• In the race for the second Richfield Township trustee seat, Trustee Laurie Peters Gilmore now trails Robert Luther by one vote, 354-353. Election night results had Luther up by three votes.
• The Manchester school levy, which was winning by one vote, now is ahead by 11: 1,315 to 1,304.
Updated election results are available at www.summitcountyboe.com/.