NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford voters have approved a ballot question lengthening the mayoral term from two years to four years, beginning with the winner of the 2019 city election.

The question passed Tuesday night with 6,904 "yes" votes, compared to 6,127 votes against. A total of 14,098 votes were cast in the election, meaning 1,1067 citizens chose not to vote on the issue. Election Commissioner Manuel DeBrito said on WBSM's "Townsquare Sunday" program that the question would appear on the front of the ballot, so it's unlikely voters would have missed the question.

The ballot question was pushed forth by a citizens group "New Bedford Fourward," which gathered the necessary 2,500 signatures beginning this past spring to have the question appear on the ballot. It was approved for the ballot in September.

A number of prominent people had come down on both sides of the issue, with former Mayor Scott Lang being very vocal in recent weeks against extending the mayor's term. Incumbent Mayor Jon Mitchell, who was voted in for a fourth term Tuesday night, was a strong supporter of a four-year term.

The ballot question also did not call for term limits for the mayor's office.

The binding question means changes must now be made to the city's charter to accommodate the term extension.

Ballot Question--Should the Mayor's Term Be Extended from 2 Years to 4 Years?
Yes 6,904
No 6,127
**Goes into effect for the winner of the 2019 Municipal Election