PORTLAND, Maine — After more than a year of work by the Portland Charter Commission, and heavy campaigning over multiple citizen-initiated referendum questions, the results are in for the slew of ballot questions posed to voters in Maine's largest city.
According to unofficial results shared by the City of Portland, six out of the eight charter commission proposals were approved by voters, and just one of the citizen-initiatives was supported by the majority of voters.
"The voters have spoken. It has been a central principle of our campaign that their voices are the ones that matter. We begin with our real thanks to everyone who voted and the hundreds of people who participated in the [Portland] Charter Commission’s year-long process," former Portland Charter Commissioner Pat Washburn said.
The two charter commissioner recommendations shut down by voters faced a strong opposition campaign. Both Question 2 and Question 5 were defeated. You can view the complete results at the bottom of this story.
"Portland voters overwhelmingly rejected charter amendments that would have drastically altered Portland’s government and concentrated too much power in the hands of a strong mayor. We agree with voters that there is a better way to make Portland more democratic and transparent, and its elected and appointed officials more accountable," Marpheen Chann, another former charter commissioner who opposed Question 2, said.
On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Kate Snyder held a news conference to discuss the outcome of the city's election.
"We have clarity from voters regarding structure, priorities, and expectations. And we have all learned more about our community and one another as a result of the proposals that were made, whether they were approved or not," Snyder said.
Portland ballot question results
Question 1: Whether to change the preamble to the city charter to acknowledge that Portland is located on the land of Indigenous people.
YES - 64.8%
NO - 35.2%
Question 2: Whether to modify the city charter in a number of ways, including to replace the mayor with an "executive mayor" and increase the powers of that office, replace the city manager with a city administrator, and increase the number of city council seats from nine to 12.
YES - 35.1%
NO - 64.9%
Question 3: Whether to create a Clean Election Fund, prohibit corporate contributions to municipal candidates, and prohibit foreign contributions to ballot questions.
YES - 65.3%
NO - 34.7%
Question 4: Whether to use proportional ranked-choice voting for municipal elections in which more than one person is running for a single seat.
YES - 63.6%
NO - 36.4%
Question 5: Whether to send the proposed school budget directly from the school board to a referendum rather than to the city council for approval.
YES - 42.4%
NO - 57.6%
Question 6: Whether to create a Peaks Island Council as an advisory body to the city council.
YES - 66.2%
NO - 33.8%
Question 7: Whether to replace the existing police review subcommittee with a Civilian Police Review Board to receive citizen complaints and review internal investigation reports.
YES - 61.0%
NO - 39.0%
Question 8: Whether the city council will establish an ethics commission to recommend a code of ethics and hear ethics complaints.
YES - 69.7%
NO - 30.3%
Citizen-initiated question results
Question A: Whether to ban businesses and non-local owners of short-term rentals in the city, prohibit eviction of tenants in order to convert to short-term rentals, and prohibit affordable/workforce housing from being used as short-term rentals.
YES - 44.2%
NO - 55.8%
Question B: Whether to limit short-term rentals in Portland to those that are owner-occupied, tenant-occupied, or in two-unit buildings occupied by the owner.
YES - 44.6%
NO - 55.4%
Question C: Whether to require landlords to give tenants a 90-day notice for lease termination and rent increase; limit the five percent rent increase to voluntary turnovers; restrict deposits to one month's rent.
YES - 54.9%
NO - 45.1%
Question D: Whether to increase the minimum wage to $18 per hour and eliminate the sub-minimum tipped wage.
YES - 38.9%
NO - 61.1%
Question E: Whether to limit the number of passengers to disembark from cruise ships per day to 1,000 in order to reduce congestion and pollution, effective 2025.
YES - 27.4%
NO - 72.6%