by Kirk Woundy
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams has now released at least three rounds of updates, and with about 35 percent of precincts reporting, the local headlines remain the same: Democrats appear to be en route to important victories in House Districts 17 and 18, and both area tax measures look likely to pass.
If there is a new footnote, though, it comes from comparing our results with those from larger stages. Looks like the county is out of sync with the state on Amendment 64 (which the Denver Post is saying will pass) and, of course, with the country in the presidential race (called for Barack Obama).
To keep track of further updates as the night goes on, click here.
——- EARLIER POST, 7:33 P.M. ——-
Despite more than 60 percent of El Paso County voters so far choosing the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, Democrats have come out of the gate strong in the two competitive House races locally. And the two most high-profile tax questions look like they're winning voter approval.
In House District 17, Democrat Tony Exum Sr. is carrying a 50.63 percent of the vote, as compared to incumbent Republican Mark Barker at 36.29 percent. And in District 18, Democratic incumbent Pete Lee is coming in at 49.54 percent, while Republican challenger Jennifer George has 39.51 percent.
Both the HD 17 and HD 18 races are considered key in determining whether the balance of power will shift in the state House, which Republicans currently control, 33 seats to 32.
As for El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's County Public Safety Tax (Issue 1A), it's pulling 61.23 percent of the vote, with just 33.55 percent opposed. And 5A, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax extension, is up 73.36 percent to 18.91 percent.
In other local news, 59.53 percent of voters so far want to scale county term limits back to two terms (with just 32.38 wanting to keep it at three). But incumbent Republican County Commissioners Amy Lathen, Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey — all of whom have been accused of helping to get the "deceptive" 2010 term-limits extension passed in the first place — enjoy comfortable leads in their races.
Looking statewide, county voters are voting "no" on Amendment 64, the marijuana-legalization question, 51.07 percent to 45.79 percent. But they're backing Amendment 65, a symbolic measure that would instruct Colorado's representatives in Congress to push for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision, 65.15 percent to 27.89 percent.
And it sure looks like one of those representatives will be sitting Rep. Doug Lamborn, who's taking 59.15 percent of the vote in Congressional District 5, easily handling independent Dave Anderson and his 16.73 percent.
Finally, the presidential race in El Paso County sees Romney at 60.19 percent, with Barack Obama at 37.11 percent.
The El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office released this first wave of results at a little after 7 p.m. But there still are thousands of votes to count.
In an email this morning, Alissa Vander Veen, chief deputy and communications manager for the clerk's office, explained that the first results would comprise "all of the early voting and mail-in ballots that were processed as of 5 pm yesterday." And anyone who waited in line at their polling place today knows that many people chose to wait until Election Day itself.
To follow the clerk's numbers yourself, bookmark this page: http://www.elpasoelections.com/2012General/results.html.
Oh, and for a little perspective, here's registration data sent out earlier this week from the county clerk. 2012 voting numbers were through Saturday.