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Judge upholds Aaron Stiles win in Cleveland County election

Republic incumbent Aaron Stiles, 33, took the oath of office in an informal ceremony at the state Capitol about an hour after the ruling was issued by District Judge Tracy Schumacher.

The burden was on Roberts to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the election results would have been substantially different “but for the unlawful acts of public officials,” Schumacher wrote in a 26-page ruling that contained 25 pages of findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The judge said she found no evidence of unlawful acts, only some “troubling” instances where votes were or were not counted that should have been.

Stiles was declared the unofficial winner of the Nov. 6 election by an 18-vote margin.

That margin was narrowed to 16 votes in a Nov. 15 manual recount. The results of the recount were certified Tuesday by the State Election Board once they received Schumacher's ruling.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said election officials will review Schumacher's ruling.

“We definitely always want to make sure every vote counts,” he said. “We will take the judge's advice to heart.”

Stiles said he went straight to the Cleveland County Courthouse on Tuesday to check on the status of the legal challenge after attending a retreat in Medicine Park, near Lawton, with other GOP House members.

All but Stiles received a T-shirt with the number 72 on the back, indicating the record number of Republicans who will serve in the House when the session begins in February. Stiles said he will get his shirt Wednesday.

A formal swearing-in is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday in the House chambers.