NORMAN — A Cleveland County judge Tuesday upheld the results of the contested state House District 45 race, denying Democratic challenger Paula Roberts' request for a new 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.
“I'm just glad it's over. We've already put this behind us, and starting tonight, I will begin drafting bills. I'm ready to get to work,” Stiles said.
Roberts, 60, said she was disappointed with the ruling and had made no decision yet whether the case will be appealed.
“I still believe there were irregularities that warranted a new election, but the judge ruled otherwise,” said Roberts, who served as the Cleveland County Election Board secretary for 22 years before retiring last year.
“I'm tired, and I think I'm pretty much done, although I haven't talked to my attorneys. They are studying the ruling. I do want to thank the voters who supported me through this.”
Schumacher ruled that any problems that occurred in the election “likely occur in any election.”
The judge said evidence in the case indicated some votes cast in the race that were discounted probably should have been counted and, likewise, some votes that were counted probably should not have been.
However, the judge said, in both cases election officials counted, or didn't count, votes “based upon existing, current statutory and administrative law.”
Schumacher said she found no evidence of impropriety or fraud, although she cited evidence of “human error” in the case of two residents who were mailed the wrong absentee ballots. The couple voted in the HD 45 race, although they live in a different district.