County Charter History

In 2010, Cumberland County voters approved the county's first charter. Under Maine statute Title 30-A, Chapter 11, Subsection 1352, certain laws, functions, and duties are governed by the charter. 

Cumberland County Charter

What Is a Charter?

A charter is the defining document of how a body of government:

  • Organizes itself
  • Selects officers, officials and employees
  • Establishes departments, agencies and boards

In Maine, Cumberland County, Aroostook and Knox counties also have charters.

Charter History

In 2010, voters in Cumberland County approved a first-ever charter for the county.

The charter was drafted over the course of 2 years by a charter commission created in 2008 that had 6 members elected by the public and 3 members appointed by the County Commissioners. There were previous unsuccessful attempts to create a charter in Cumberland County in 1982 and 2003. Read more about the history of the charter.


  • March 14, 2011 - County Commissioners voted to accept the new district map proposed by the charter commission, increasing the number of districts and County Commissioners from 3 to 5 starting with the November 2011 election.
  • January 4, 2011 - Charter Commission votes on final district boundaries
  • December 4, 2010 - Charter Commission reconvenes to draw new district boundaries
  • November 2, 2010 - Charter is on ballot
  • November 2, 2010 - Charter goes to voters in General Election
  • August 9, 2010 - Public Meeting at County Courthouse; Charter presented to County Commissioners
  • August 9, 2010 - Final charter document delivered to County Commissioners
  • August 5, 2010 - Public Meeting at County Courthouse to give final approval to draft, then off to legal for review
  • August 5, 2010 - Last review and meeting of Charter Commission to submit the charter
  • August 6, 2010 - Charter is submitted for legal review
  • July 22, 2010 - Public Meeting in Raymond

2008: Creation of the 2nd Charter Commission

  • November 4, 2008 - Charter Commission members elected at General Election
  • June 2, 2008 - Deadline for Charter Commission candidate petitions to be submitted to Secretary of State Office for verification
  • May 27, 2008 - Deadline for Charter Commission candidate petitions to be submitted to municipalities for verification
  • March 2008 - County Commissioners vote to initiate Charter Commission

2004: Failed Attempt to Create 2nd Charter Commission

  • Referendum to create Charter Commission turned down by 51% of voters
  • November 2004 - County Commissioners vote to put creation of a 2nd Charter Commission to voters

1980 - 1982: 1st Charter Commission

  • June 8, 1982 - Proposed Cumberland County Charter turned down by voters
  • November 1980 - Voters create the Cumberland County Charter Commission
  • County Commissioners vote to put creation of a Charter Commission to voters
  • Governor signed LD 1038 “An Act to Provide for County Self-Government” into law, making it possible for counties to create their own charters

Historical Document Archive

Visit our historical document archive to view documents relating to the Charter.