Measure M, the hotly debated infrastructure-maintenance funding initiative, was narrowly defeated by Santa Barbara County voters on Tuesday.
With all precincts reporting, the initiative had 51.29 percent opposed and 48.71 percent in favor. With 54,762 ballots cast, the margin of defeat was just over 1,400 votes
The county Elections Office released the first results from 39,850 absentee ballots shortly after 8 p.m., which showed Measure M slightly ahead.
However, subsequent tallies of precinct votes saw the initiative drop slightly behind. Although most of the remaining uncounted votes late in the night appeared to be from the Fifth District in the North County, the outcome never really changed.
As results were updated throughout Tuesday night, all indications were that Measure M would remain a close race.
Measure M was the brainchild of Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam, who argued that it was the only way to ensure that the county's multi-million-dollar backlog of deferred maintenance did not get worse.
But he was opposed on the measure by the other four members of the Board of Supervisors, including Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who normally is a conservative ally.