Recount Confirms: Lang Wins Judge Race By 4 Votes

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Pat Lang retained a four-vote lead during an election recount Monday in the Democratic primary for Athens County Common Pleas Court judge.

Lang edged out Todd Grace for the victory, 1,615-1,611. No Republican filed for the judgeship, currently held by L. Alan Goldsberry who will be retiring.

"I am deeply honored by the results of this election, and by the trust given me by the voters of Athens County," Lang said in a statement issued Monday. "I will strive every day to uphold the dignity of the court, and to treat every person who comes before it with fairness and respect."

The unofficial election-night tally May 6 had Lang winning by an 18-vote margin, 1,604 to 1,586. In the official count held later in the month, which added in 40 provisional ballots and the ballot of a 17-year-old who will be 18 by the time of the general election, Grace closed the gap to four votes, 1,614 for Lang and 1,610 for Grace. That was close enough to automatically trigger Monday's recount.

Lang and Grace each picked up an additional vote in the recount. Grace added a vote in Canaan Twp. Precinct, where someone voted with a checkmark that was not read in the official machine count. The elections board examined the ballot and counted the vote for Grace. Lang picked up a vote in Glouster Village Precinct, where a ballot was counted as an over vote in the official count, but the board determined it was a vote for Lang.

The end result was a 1,615 to 1,611 victory for Lang over Grace, with third-place finisher William Biddlestone getting 575 votes.

"I congratulate Mr. Grace on what was obviously a very strong campaign, and I thank the staff of the Board of Elections for all of their extra efforts in ensuring the accuracy of the vote," Lang said. "…I can't wait to get started."

Prior to running the ballots through the electronic vote counter on Monday, the board had to do a hand recount of one precinct and determine if it matched the official count that was done by machine. They matched, so the recount could be done by machine.