Westside election results similar to those in larger areas

       The Westside is unique in history, geography and small-town values, but voted pretty much the same as the rest of El Paso County in key November election races, based on official precinct-by-precinct results recently released by the county Election Department.
       The county-wide election interest could also be seen on the Westside. Its 66.7 percent turnout of registered voters was just under the county's 68.6 percent. Only four Westside precincts had less than 60 percent turnout, with the highest (84.11 percent) recorded in Precinct 53, which includes parts of Pleasant Valley and Kissing Camels.
       (For reference purposes, the Westside Pioneer roughly defines the Westside as south of Garden of the Gods Road, west of I-25, north of the Cheyenne/ Broadmoor area and east of Manitou Springs. This area encompasses 30 election precincts.)
       In the successful Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) ballot issue, just under 55 percent of the county voted yes. Westside voters - possibly relishing the seven Westside projects on the RTA list or maybe just sick of fighting crosstown traffic - liked the idea even better, voting for the measure by a 56.39 percent margin.
       Area politicos have puzzled over the schizophrenic School District 11 bond election, in which voters approved the ballot issue for $131.7 million in bonds (3F) but rejected the issue to fund them (3G). Results were no different on the Westside, where $16.7 million of the bonds had been earmarked for new and improved buildings at 13 schools. In fact, the local percentages on both measures were nearly identical to those district-wide.
       One bond-issue anomaly is that nearly 3,000 voters who marked their ballots pro or con on 3F did not vote at all on 3G.. This trend also held on the Westside, where the difference was 500. Meanwhile, across the district, the measure lost by less than 2,000 votes. Did some voters forget 3G was there? Not know what it was? Who can say for sure?
       Incumbent Democrat State Representative Michael Merrifield's easy conquest was reflected in the 16 Westside precincts that are part of his 54-precinct District 18. Republican challenger Kent Lambert gathered almost 3.5 percent more support on the Westside than in the district as a whole, but that still represented less than 45 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Libertarian challenger Keith Hamburger, who ran a virtually invisible campaign, picked up almost the same amount of backing here (about 3.5 percent) as elsewhere in the district.
       As for the presidential election race on the Westside, several precincts that went for Merrifield went for President George Bush as he took 55.7 percent of the vote. A classic example was Precinct 48, where Merrifield garnered 57.57 percent; meanwhile, Bush led Democrat challenger John Kerry by more than 3 percentage points.

Westside Pioneer article