Conditions for becoming a registered party include:
- holding four or more seats in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba outside an election period or immediately before an election is announced, or;
- endorsing five or more candidates during a general election, or;
- parties that do not hold seats in the legislature before an election may also apply for registration with a petition (Form 906B) signed by at least 2,500 people who were eligible voters in the most recent general election (a petition cannot be submitted or approved after an election call).
Applications for registration are made to Elections Manitoba and should include the following information
- Party Name
- name or abbreviation to be used on the ballot
- The names and contact information of the party's leader, financial officer and president.
- The name and contact information for the party's auditor and the auditor's signed consent to act in that capacity.
- An audited financial statement, including a statement of assets and liabilities, of the political party as of a date no more than 60 days before the date of the application for registration.
If a Petition for Registration has been submitted, it will be verified by contacting some of the persons who signed the petition to ensure that they are eligible voters and that they did sign the petition. The Chief Electoral Officer publishes the notice of registration of a political party on the Elections Manitoba website. The detailed process for registering a political party with the Chief Electoral Officer is found in sections 4-16 of The Election Financing Act.
Once an application for registration is approved, notice of the approval as well as a registration number issued by the Chief Electoral Officer will be sent to the political party. The registered party must then comply with certain provisions of The The Election Financing Act:
- Where there is any change in the particulars disclosed in the application for registration, the registered party shall notify Elections Manitoba within 30 days of the change.
- The party must keep Elections Manitoba apprised of who the key members of the party are, in particular the financial officer and any deputies he or she has appointed to issue tax receipts.
- Only the financial officer or a deputy may issue receipts.
- A record must be kept of all receipts which are printed and issued.
- The receipts must include complete contribution records. [See section 37(2) of the EFA]
Financial Reporting - Registered Party
Within three months after the end of every year registered parties must file an annual audited statement setting out:
- income, including contributions and transfers during the year,
- expenses, including transfers during the year, and
- the assets and liabilities of the registered political party
Within three months after the end of every year, in conjunction with the annual audited statement, registered parties must file a return for contributions. The return includes the name, address and amount contributed for each person.
Where there is an election, registered parties must file an audited statement within four months after election day setting out:
- the income, including contributions and transfers, of the registered party during the campaign period of the election.
- the election expenses, including advertising expenses, of the registered party; and
- the transfers made by the registered party during the campaign period of the election to any candidate endorsed by the registered party in the election or to any constituency association of the registered party in any electoral division in which the election is being contested.
- Within 30 days of a request by Elections Manitoba, the financial officer of a registered political party must provide a list showing the name and address of the financial officer of each constituency association of the registered party. Any changes in the particulars in the list must be reported in writing to Elections Manitoba within five days of the change.
- Form 904 Notice of Nomination must be filed immediately after the nomination of candidate by any constituency association. The form requires the name and contact information of the candidate, the constituency association, the date of nomination and the registered party's financial officer's signature.
- It is also the responsibility of the financial officer to provide information requested by the Chief Electoral Officer to clarify or verify the information contained in any statement or return within 30 days after receiving the written request or within such extended period of time as approved by the Chief Electoral Officer.
- The financial officer for a party should retain all records upon which a statement or return is based for at least five years from the date of filing the statement of return, or for any additional period the CEO considers necessary.
- The financial officer must also maintain a bank account in the name of the party solely for the party.
A registered party may voluntarily apply for de-registration at any time; however a registered party cannot be de-registered during the campaign period of a general election. The application for de-registration must be made to the Chief Electoral Officer in writing and be signed by the party leader, the president, and financial officer [s. 12]
Compulsory de-registration of a registered party may also occur under certain circumstances [section 13-14]. The Chief Electoral Officer shall de-register a registered party where the party:
- has endorsed fewer than five candidates in the most recent general election.
- fails to file any statement or return required by the Act; or fails to file with the Chief Electoral Officer any information reasonably required to clarify or verify the information contained in a statement or return filed by the political party under the Act; or
- fails to appoint a Financial Officer in accordance with the Act; or
- adopts a new name which is prohibited under section 8; or
The Chief Electoral Officer will inform the party in writing of the proposed de-registration. There is provision for the registered party to file a written objection to the proposed de-registration. There is also provision for a political party to avoid de-registration by rectifying a violation within 30 days of the notice of proposed de-registration, except of course where a party is de-registered by reason of failure to endorse at least five candidates.
The Chief Electoral Officer must give public notice of the de-registration.