Election night a community reunion to many

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

They came to see and be seen- and to be a part of what is a regular community ritual: showing up at the courthouse on election night.

Lawrence Countians packed the first floor of the courthouse Tuesday evening to watch the candidates and to watch the American electoral process as it happened.

"I came to see how the Rock Hill School Board race went," Roger DePriest of Hanging Rock said. He had his fingers crossed for Lavetta Sites and Paul R. Johnson and left satisfied: both of his favorite candidates won election.

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"I'm on cloud nine," DePriest said. As he looked around the room, he saw throngs of people crowding around the tally sheets and they were brought out of the board of elections office. DePriest comes every election night to watch the process as it unfolds. "I've seen it worse than this, but it is chaos," DePriest said.

Only a few feet away, Dave Blankenship was leaving a bit disappointed. The Hanging Rock resident was rooting for Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary to win reelection. Cleary lost to Ironton City Councilman John Elam. Blankenship was philosophical.

"I really don't get upset about politics," Blankenship said. "I'm just glad we live in America and we're free to do this."

Nikki Foster of Ironton came to support Elam, and left happy. She also left with a sense of awe at the election night machinations. "This is amazing," Fisher said. It was her first time watching the election returns at the county seat. "There are a lot of people here," she said.

Some of the candidates brought family members with them to watch the goings-on. Win or lose, they wanted familiar faces in the crowd on election night.

Lori Morris, who won the Lawrence Township Clerk's race, came with husband, children, parents, siblings and even the in-laws. The kids, ages three and six, fell asleep long before the counting was over. They didn't even hear the cheer that went up when Mom won.

"I enjoy this kind of work," Morris said. "And I decided to run."

Some who graced the courthouse with their presence weren't there to support a particular candidate or cause, they just came for the adventure.

"I came to see friends," George Stamper of Pedro said. "I came to mingle with everybody, see a lot of friends. I come all the time."