An Overview of the Electoral Process
Manitoba is divided into 57 electoral divisions. An electoral division is an area of the province represented by a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). MLAs are elected by the eligible voters in their electoral division.
The boundaries are set by Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission under the authority of The Electoral Divisions Act. The Commission meets every 10 years to review the boundaries and last reported in 2008.
Maps of electoral divisions under the current boundaries can be found on this web site.
Each electoral division is divided into voting areas of approximately 250-400 voters. A voters list is prepared and a voting station is established for each area. In the 2011 General Election, there were 2,681 voting stations in the province.
The Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for conducting provincial elections that are free and fair, as set out in The Elections Act.
The Chief Electoral Officer appoints a Returning Officer to run the election in each electoral division. The Returning Officer is the contact person for voters and candidates in his/her electoral division.
Approximately 9,500 election workers were hired to run the 2011 election, including enumerators, revising agents, office staff, and voting officers. Election workers are hired by the Returning Officer and training is provided.
To be eligible to vote in a Manitoba provincial election, you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years old on or before election day and have lived in Manitoba for at least 6 months immediately before election day.
In 2011, 777,054 persons were registered to vote, and 433,346 (55.77%) of these voted.
Enumeration & Revision
Enumeration is the process of going door to door to collect names of eligible voters for the voters list.
Voters lists are no longer posted. For personal security reasons you may apply to your Returning Officer to have your name and address omitted or obscured (blacked out) on the voters list.
During an election, the names and contact information for the Returning Officers will be available on this site.
If eligible voters are missed during enumeration, they can have their names added to the voters list during Revision. Revision is held at Returning Offices and other locations immediately following enumeration. Bring a driver's license or two other pieces of identification to have your name added to the voters list. You can also have a revising agent visit your home.
Eligible voters who were missed at enumeration and did not have their names added at revision can still vote. They can swear an oath at the voting place, either during advance voting or on election day.
During the 2011 election, 710,590 voters were added to the list during enumeration. An additional 40,185 names were added during revision and 26,279 voters swore on to the list at voting stations.
Candidates & Nominations
Eligible voters wishing to run as candidates must submit nomination papers to the Returning Officer by 1:00 pm on Nomination Day. To be accepted, nomination papers must include the signatures of at least 100 eligible voters who live in the electoral division in which the candidate is running.
A candidate may be endorsed by a political party or run as an independent. There are currently five registered Political Parties in Manitoba. Candidates endorsed by one of these parties will have the endorsing party's name on the ballot.
Each candidate must appoint an Official Agent to manage his/her finances during the campaign period.
In the 2011 election, there were 208 official candidates. Of these, one ran as an independent.
Expenditures & Contributions
During an election, candidates and registered political parties have spending limits determined by a formula based on:
- the number of names on the revised Voters List
- the Consumer Price Index
Spending limits help make elections fair. Candidates exceeding these limits are guilty of an election offence.
Individuals living in Manitoba may contribute to registered parties or candidates, up to a total of $3,000 per year. Corporations and unions cannot make contributions. Registered parties and registered candidates can issue income tax receipts for contributions.
After an election, each candidate and registered political party files a report with the Chief Electoral Officer setting out all election expenses and contributions. This report is available to the public at the Elections Manitoba office. Guidelines are set out in The Elections Finances Act.
Candidates are eligible for 50% reimbursement of their election expenses if they obtain 10% or more of the valid votes in the electoral division.
Registered political parties are also eligible for 50% reimbursement of their election expenses if they receive at least 10% of all valid votes in each electoral division where they endorsed a candidate.
Election day is always on a Tuesday. Election day voting places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Advance voting is held for eight days to accommodate voters who wish to vote in advance of election day. Voters do not need a reason to vote in advance and may vote at any advance voting location. Wherever possible, advance voting locations are accessible to all.
Voters requiring assistance may bring someone with them to help them vote. A voting official may also assist. Elections Manitoba provides tools to assist voters who have difficulty reading.
Institutional voting stations are set up at health care facilities and correctional facilities on election day.
Voters who are unable to leave their home due to a disability can apply to vote at home using homebound voting . Caregivers may also vote this way. Applications for homebound voting must be made to your Returning Officer.
After voting stations close on election day, the ballots are counted. Ballots are then resealed into the ballot boxes and delivered to the returning office, along with a statement of the vote. The returning officer does a final tally of the votes and verifies the results.
If the difference between the number of votes won by the leading candidate and the candidate in second place is less than 50, a judicial recount will take place. A candidate or voter may apply for a recount when plurality is more than 50. If the difference is 50 or greater and no recount application is in court, the returning officer declares the leading candidate elected.
Unofficial results are posted as soon as they come in from the returning office. Final, official results are provided once a candidate is declared elected.