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California props

California votes in favor of overturning Citizens United by passing Proposition 59

Voters approved Proposition 59, which instructs elected officials to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision that dramatically altered the way money can be spent on politics.

The Associated Press projects the ballot measure passed with 52.3% of the vote.

Proposition 59 is not legally binding and includes no punishment for California's senators and representatives. While much of the delegation supports overturning the decision, some members have indicated they won't comply with the voter instruction. 

The Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision said money spent to influence voters that isn't funneled through a candidate's campaign is free speech, and the federal government can't prohibit corporations and labor unions from doing it.

Elections since have become dramatically more expensive, with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into campaigns in all levels of government by groups that don't have to disclose their donors.

It took years of wrangling, two trips through the Legislature and a trip to the state Supreme Court for activists to get the measure on the ballot.

Gov. Jerry Brown let the bill that put the proposition on the ballot become law without his signature, saying in a 2014 message that he disagreed with the decision "but we should not make it a habit to clutter our ballots with non-binding measures as citizens rightfully assume that their votes are meant to have legal effect."

Similar ballot measures have passed in Colorado and Montana. It also was on the ballot in Washington this year.

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