Updated Wednesday morning with complete results. See the bottom of this post for tallies with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Proposition 32, the measure designed to stop unions from deducting political contributions from employee paychecks, appears to have gone down to defeat tonight.
The race was initially tight. With 12 percent of ballots counted at 8:45 p.m., the measure was losing, but somewhat close, with 51.5 percent opposed and 48.5 percent in favor. But as time went on, that margin became increasingly lopsided.
By midnight, preliminary results show that just 45.8 percent of Californians voted in favor, with the rest opposed. (That includes nearly 52 percent of precincts reporting.)
The pro-labor/anti-Prop 32 team declared victory, with Lou Paulson, chairman of No on 32, saying in a prepared statement, "For the third time in the last 15 years, California voters have rejected a ballot measure aimed squarely at restricting the voice of middle class Californians in the political process.
"By soundly rejecting Proposition 32, the voters of our state said 'no' to a deceptive initiative written by wealthy special interests, for wealthy special interests."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The hard-fought battle triggered a staggering $135.6 million in spending -- with labor organizations outspending the proposition's supporters by $14.6 million.
State regulators recently went to court to force one Arizona nonprofit in opposition to cough up its donors -- but even that proved a labyrinth, with more non-profits the only named donors, and little transparency as to their ultimate benefactors.
Update: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the results indicate that Proposition 32 went up in flames. Only 43.9 percent of California's said "yes" to the measure, with 56.1 percent opposed.
That's a pretty convincing victory for labor organizations and their allies.