A referendum initiative to place more restrictions on short-term rentals in Portland failed to pass, a recount confirmed Friday.

Question E: An Act to Restrict Short-Term Rentals in Portland was defeated by 273 votes in the Nov. 3 election. That margin is slightly larger after the recount but still less than one percentage point.

The  city clerk’s office recounted more than 39,000 ballots by hand at the Portland Exposition Building on Thursday and Friday. Their final count was 19,499 “yes” votes and 19,772 “no” votes.

A recount of ballots on referendum question E is held at the Portland Expo on Thursday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

People First Portland, a political committee organized by the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America that placed the question on the ballot, collected 100 signatures from registered voters to force a recount. The narrow vote margin allowed proponents to request a recount without having to pay for it, according to state law.

Question E was the only referendum initiative not approved by city voters. People First Portland successfully passed other initiatives to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, plus hazard pay, in the coming years; strengthen the city’s ban on the use of facial recognition software by public officials; implement a “Green New Deal for Portland”; and institute rent control and other tenant protections.

Kathy Alves, left, and others go through ballots during the recount process of referendum question E at the Portland Expo on Thursday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Question E would have prohibited unhosted, or non-owner-occupied short-term rentals, which currently account for about half the total short-term rentals in the city. Unhosted short-term rentals are currently capped at 400 on the mainland. It would also have increased registration fees and strengthened enforcement.

Voters also approved an initiative to remove a 20-store cap on marijuana retail establishments and allow stores to be closer together (100 feet as opposed to 250.) That referendum was placed on the ballot by advocate David Boyer.

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