NEW GLOUCESTER — New Gloucester voters on Tuesday approved establishing a commission for the creation of a town charter, with 1,922 voting in favor the measure and 1,580 against.

This is the second time residents weighed-in on the question of establishing a charter commission; the first vote taken in 2018 failed by just four votes.

This time around, the affirmative votes bested those who disapproved by 342 ballots.

The group New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter submitted a petition with 648 signatures in June that met the minimum requirement of 587 signatures by June 27 for the question to appear on Tuesday’s ballot.

Supporters of a town charter say that it will give residents more oversight of their local government and increase transparency in town affairs.

“I think it’ll be a huge asset to the town,” Town Manager Brenda Fox-Howard said in an interview last month.

At New Gloucester’s polling location at the fire department Tuesday morning, most voters questioned said the presidential election was what drove them to the polls that day. One voter said he didn’t even know the charter question would be on the ballot until he started voting.

Although there was a steady stream of in-person voters on Election Day, registrar Kimberly Getchell reported mid-October that the town had already received about 1,500 absentee ballot requests and the number continued to climb.

The final number of absentee ballot requests was not available Wednesday morning.

John Salisbury, an organizer with Citizens for a Town Charter and former executive director of the Maine Municipal Association, wrote on the group’s Facebook page: “Thanks to all who worked hard to make this happen. Also those who voted in support of creating a charter commission.”

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