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It was night of suspense, celebrations, defeats

The polls had just closed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when Ironton mayoral candidate Katrina Keith was cheered as she entered her election night party at The Depot restaurant, almost as if those there could predict the results.

“I am excited, ecstatic and grateful,” Keith said as she hugged her supporters lined up to greet and applaud her.

Her admirers expected a victory, because, as one said, the city needs new blood, new direction and new ideas.

At the Lawrence County Courthouse, the first ballot bag was rushed into the lobby almost a half-hour after voting stopped. At that time, only a few were gathered around the main staircase. In a half-hour, that would change as crowds lined up.

A few minutes later, board of elections member Mark McCown came out of the election office to announce that there would be no results announced until at least 9 p.m.

That was an order from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, following a lawsuit filed in Hamilton County to keep the polls open until 9 p.m.

“We will continue our internal canvas, but we can’t give out results until at least 9 o’clock,” McCown said.

The lawsuit was filed by ResponsibleOhio, the pro marijuana group that wants pot legalized. They contended there were a number of problems with voting earlier that day, including voters having long waits in line.

Because of that the screen in the lobby that scrolls results was shut down.

“The secretary of state had the embargo on,” McCown said. “Then when everyone across the state tried to upload the data, it crashed.”

The crowd at the courthouse was comprised of candidates, family members, supporters and those who were just curious about the results.

Bill Patrick was running for mayor of South Point. While he was ultimately unsuccessful in his race, he praised the turnout and the tone of the campaign.

“As far as South Point goes, we’ve had good candidates running for mayor, council and the school board,” he said.

Hamilton township trustee Forrest Kearns was there to support his brother, Benny Kearns, who was elected as a fellow trustee.

“I think we should be able to do some good,” he said. “Having two votes will help us do good things for the community.”

Justin Brown, who ran unsuccessfully for Upper Township trustee, was watching the results of his race.

“I think candidates should get out and talk to the people of the community, instead of hiding in town,” he said.

Paul Johnson, a former member of the Rock Hill school board, was there to see who won election to the board this year.

“I hope we get the right people in there,” he said.

This election brought out 39 percent of the 41,815 registered voters.

“That is pretty decent for municipal elections,” he said. “We were busy today. South Point was very, very busy.”

This was the first time for the implementation of the electronic poll books, designed to streamline voting.

“There were some hiccups in the morning, but once it was set up and running, we had a lot of compliments,” McCown said. “There were very few lines waiting. We are very glad we implemented the poll books now rather than waited for the presidential primary. It is good practice. As busy as we were, we were not as busy as we would be at that.”