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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who runs the ManitobaElection.ca website?

ManitobaElection.ca is a citizen-created election resource run by the volunteer efforts of Andrew Burton, Ken Harasym and Kyle Geske.

More information can be found on our About Us page.

 

How do you determine who the candidates are?

Candidates are collected from the Elections Manitoba website listings. Elections Manitoba is the official Election authority for provincial elections in Manitoba. Only those individuals listed on the Elections Manitoba candidates listing will be displayed in the appropriate electoral division on this website.

Some candidates may be endorsed to represent a political party but have not yet filled out the forms with Elections Manitoba. If a candidate is listed on the political party webpage but is not on the Elections Manitoba website, we will list the candidate on this website only in the political party candidate listing. We will not feature this candidate in the appropriate electoral division until Elections Manitoba lists the candidate on its website.

Candidate names will be shown as the candidate advertises their name in promotional materials, except for use of salutations and post-nominal (designatory) letters. For instance, if a candidate chooses to promote their candidacy under their nick name, we will display the candidate card under the nick name used.

Elections Manitoba notes that all candidates have until 1:00 PM on Tuesday, March 29th to submit all requirements to become an official candidate. After that time, we will remove from our website all candidates who did not submit the requirements to become an official candidate.

 

How do you decide what contact information / social media websites to list for candidates?

Each Electoral Division page display all candidates within that division so that potential voters have the opportunity to contact, read about, and evaluate their candidates. Each candidate has ‘candidate card’ displayed in random order. The order is reset every time the webpage is loaded.

The candidate card includes, if available, links to the candidate website, Facebook page, Twitter page, Youtube page, email address, and the campaign office phone number. Additionally, after the nomination period closes on March 29th and all candidates are official, candidates will be sent out a questionnaire to be featured, once completed, on their individual candidacy page.

We want to make the information presented on our site easy to use and read, and to avoid too much clutter on candidate pages. We choose to feature Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube links because these are some of the most commonly used social media tools by electoral candidates in Manitoba. Other sites such as Instagram are used by some candidates, but so far not enough to warrant an extra link on each candidate card. We revisit this discussion before every local election and, if warranted, other social media links could be featured in future elections. Please note that social media options are often featured on individual candidate webpages. Further, candidates are free to mention any other social media sites they have used in their candidate questionnaire responses.

 

What processes are used to collect candidate information?

Detailed policies were determined (outlined below) to ensure that the candidate information is correct and is retrieved in a consistent manner.

Any webpage, Facebook page, Twitter page, or Youtube page link for a candidate must show some indication that either the candidate or associated political party is aware of and okay with the page’s existence.

If a candidate contacts ODM to update any contact or website information, the candidate information on the Manitoba Election website will be replaced with the information submitted by the candidate, so long as it follows the policies outlined below.

Candidate Websites: Websites are found in the following order:

  1. A search on the associated political party webpage through the candidate listings,
  2. A search through the Google search engine with the candidate first and last name together in quotations along with the electoral division in quotations, or
  3. A link from the candidate Facebook ‘About’ page, or the candidate Twitter page.

If a candidate has two or more webpages, the one identified as the primary website will be used unless requested otherwise by the candidate. If the candidate has no webpage, and the political party has a webpage with that candidate’s biography, then we will link to the political party webpage until a website specific to that candidate is made available.

Email Addresses and Phone Numbers: Email addresses are found in the following order:

  1. From the candidate webpage,
  2. From the candidate Facebook ‘About’ page, or
  3. From the candidate Twitter page.

If the candidate has two email addresses listed, the email address that is linked to the webpage or political party website will be used unless requested otherwise by the candidate. Phone numbers are only listed if they are for a campaign office.

Photos: Photos are found in the following order:

  1. Candidate webpage,
  2. Facebook page,
  3. Twitter page.

Headshots are used if at all possible, and photos will not be used if they show additional individuals other than the candidate or an advertisement embedded in the photo. If there are multiple headshot photos to select, the one that most closely resembles a headshot with neutral non-party background colour(s) will be selected. Candidates are free to submit photos so long as the photo does not put ODM at risk of copyright infringement and does not show individuals other than the candidate or an embedded advertisement.

Facebook Links: Facebook pages are found in the following order:

  1. Reviewing the candidate webpage for a Facebook link,
  2. Using Facebook search bar for the candidate name,
  3. Entering candidate name in quotations, electoral division in quotations, and the word Facebook into the Google search engine.

In most cases, we link to candidate election page. If no candidate page exists we link to the candidate name Facebook ‘Group’ or candidate ‘Person’ profile where:

  1. In the case of a Facebook group:
    • The group is not a closed group, and
    • There is an indication in the group title, ‘Description’, photos, or ‘Discussion’ content that this group is intended to be used to publicly promote the candidate and/or engage potential voters.
  2. In the case of a Facebook ‘Person’ profile:
    • The ‘Timeline’ and ‘About’ pages are publicly viewable, and
    • There is no indication in the Timeline history that this profile was used solely for personal non-election purposes one year or more before the 2016 provincial election date
    • There is an indication in the title, photos, ‘Timeline’ content, or ‘About’ page that this page is intended to be used to publicly promote the candidate and/or engage with potential voters.

If an incumbent is using their MLA page/group/profile to promote their candidacy, the MLA page/group/profile will be used until a candidate page/group/profile becomes available. Private profiles, or profiles that were previously used solely for personal purposes, will be linked to a candidate only if requested by the candidate.

Twitter Pages: Twitter pages are found in the following order:

  1. Reviewing the candidate webpage for a Twitter link,
  2. Reviewing the candidate Facebook page for a Twitter link,
  3. Using the Twitter search bar for the candidate name

If an incumbent is using their MLA Twitter page to promote their candidacy, the MLA page will be used until a candidate page becomes available.

Youtube Pages: Youtube pages are found in the following order:

  1. Reviewing the candidate webpage for a Youtube link,
  2. Reviewing the candidate Facebook page for a Youtube link on the candidate Facebook page,
  3. Searching for the candidate name and electoral division in the Youtube search bar

We link to candidate Youtube videos, rather than candidate Youtube accounts, unless the candidate requests otherwise.

 

How can a candidate have their candidate information updated?

Candidates can send us updated photos and information via email: manitoba.election@gmail.com

Emails should be sent from the email address we have listed for a candidate if possible.

We will do our best to process all updates within 48 hours of their receipt.

After April 15, 2016  we will no longer be accepting candidate updates. Updates received after this date will not be posted to our site. This deadline exists to ensure that our site remains accurate and consistent during the week of the election.

 

How are the news articles collected?

News is automatically gathered by searching Google News for the full names of the candidates listed on our site. The search location is set to Manitoba using the advanced search properties. Our system associates articles with a specific candidate if the candidate’s full name appears in the article summary returned with the search.

Articles found through Google News that mention two or more candidates are approved for display by our system automatically. Articles that mention only one candidate are moderated manually by our group members. This moderation helps us avoid incorrectly linking to articles about people with the same name as a candidate. News articles that were published longer than six months ago are not retrieved. We started collected news on March 1st 2106, which means that our listed articles will date back no further than September 1st 2015 (six months earlier).

If a specific news article is not showing up on our website it is because it is awaiting moderation or because it has not be located through the search process described above. Because our news gathering is an automated process we do not manually add news stories to a constituency or candidate page. To report an article that has been incorrectly associated with a candidate please email us at manitoba.election@gmail.com.

 

What do you list on your calendar and how do you decide?

We list candidate forums / debates and election voting dates, such as advanced voting. We only list forums / debates that include candidates and are not specific to a single electoral division. We find forums / debates by using the Google search engine, typing the following searches into the Google search bar:

manitoba election forum 2016 10 pages
“manitoba election” forum 2016 10 pages
manitoba election debate 2016 10 pages
“manitoba election” debate 2016 10 pages

We search the first ten pages of Google results for each search criteria. If, through this search, we find mention of a specific forum / debate, we use a separate Google search to find the exact details of that forum / debate. We attempt to conduct searches weekly. The last three searches were conducted March 15, March 22, and April 9.

Any debates and forums that are not listed can be brought to our attention via email: manitoba.election@gmail.com

 

How were the political parties selected for display on your homepage?

Parties were selected using the list of parties registered with Elections Manitoba. There are five registered parties, listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Communist Party of Canada – Manitoba
  • Manitoba Liberal Party
  • New Democratic Party of Manitoba
  • The Green Party of Manitoba
  • The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

 

What process did you follow for the candidate questionnaires?

When sending out candidate questionnaires, we distribute questionnaires to all candidates in the election on the same day. The questions are designed to be open-ended, unbiased, not exclusive, and to not include leading questions. Specific election issues are not embedded in questions because it is not up to Open Democracy Manitoba to determine what the election issues are, and which issues should be given priority to be featured over other issues on our website. We leave it up to candidates to state what issues, interests, background, or other information they choose to give. Every candidate is given the same set of questions and the same timeframe to respond to questions.

All questionnaire requests are sent to candidates via email. We collect the required email addresses using the process described above. For candidates without a public email address, either the affiliated political party is contacted, or if no political party, we attempt to use other contact information available on the internet to retrieve the candidate’s email address.

Once questionnaires are sent out to candidates, each candidate has direct access to their own questionnaire on our website. They may respond to questions or update their answers as they choose. Question responses are each limited to 200 words. The intent is to give candidates some room to explain their responses, while remaining relatively to the point and concise so that potential voters can easily retain and compare candidate responses.

Replies are posted as they are received.

After April 15, 2016 we will no longer accept candidate questionnaire responses. Replies received after this date will not be posted to our site. Also, as noted above, we will no longer accept updates to any candidate information after this date.

 

What questions will you ask each candidate in your questionnaire?

  1. Why did you decide to run in the 2016 Manitoba election?
  2. What experience will you bring to complement your role as MLA?
  3. Is there anything in particular you would like to change in our province? In your electoral division?
  4. What key issue(s) / topic(s) would like to stand for in your role as MLA, and why is it important to you?
  5. What is one thing in particular that you value about the electoral division that you wish to represent?
  6. Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?

 

What process did you follow for the party questionnaires?

Questionnaires for political parties were designed in the same manner as those for candidates – to be open-ended, unbiased, not exclusive, and to not include leading questions. Each political party will be sent an email and each will be given the same amount of time to provide responses directly onto the website.

 

What questions will you ask each party in your questionnaire?

  1. What are the key issues that your party stands for? Why are these issues important?
  2. What makes your party different from other political parties?
  3. What are the first things you would like to do if you form government after the 2016 election?
  4. Why should a voter choose to vote for your party?
  5. Do you have any other comments regarding your party that you would like to share?

 

How did you determine which websites to link to for your issues page?

Our issues page is designed to include external websites that hold specific issues or priorities as important for voters’ consideration in the 2016 Manitoba provincial election. We used a comprehensive and thorough process to identify these webpages through the Google Search Engine. We included all pages that fall under six specific criteria:

  1. The page must be a webpage, section of a webpage, or an online PDF document that has the purpose of promoting one or more specific issues, general topics, or priorities for voters to consider in the 2016 provincial election.
  2. The page is not the product of a news organization or a blog entry.
  3. The page does not single out and promote or oppose any single candidate, group of candidates, or political party.
  4. The page is not the product of one or more candidates or political parties.
  5. The page does not promote hate speech or intolerance towards an individual or group of people.
  6. A maximum of one page is listed per organization.

Fourteen issues webpages were initially found by typing the following four searches into the Google search engine and reviewing the first fifteen pages for each set of search results:

  1. “Manitoba Election” issue
  2. Manitoba Election 2016 issue
  3. “Manitoba Election 2016”
  4. “Manitoba Election” 2016

Any site or mention of a site that met the above six criteria was included in the list. Then each site was reviewed for most common terms, contextual to the site’s function. The most common terms retrieved in order were ‘election’, ‘2016’, ‘Manitoba’, ‘provincial’, ‘parties’, ‘candidate’, ‘issue’, ‘vote’, ‘April 19’, ‘plan’, ‘policies’, campaign’, ‘resource’, ‘priority’, ‘association’, and ‘toolkit’. Every single site had the words ‘Election’, ‘Manitoba’ and 2016, not necessarily in any particular order.

Based on these results, we conducted 13 Google searches with the words ‘Election’, ‘Manitoba’, and ‘2016’, along with one of the remaining words or sets of words in quotations. The first ten pages of Google were reviewed during each search for webpages related to the 2016 provincial election, subject to our six criteria.

 

Are the operations of your website transparent?

This website was created in the spirit of openness, community and accountability.

The history of this site can be seen in our Press Releases and Press Mentions.

The processes used to gather candidate information, find candidate news mentions, and manage candidate questionnaires, can be found on this FAQ page. See all Frequently Asked Questions.

This website is powered by a custom WordPress plugin developed by Open Democracy Manitoba. A preview release of this plugin is available if you wish to create an election website similar to ours. The source code for this plugin, and all election information used on this site, are released free and unencumbered into the public domain.

 

How is your website funded?

The development of this website was funded in part by a Community Investment grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). CIRA manages the .CA top-level domain, Canada’s online identifier, on behalf of all Canadians. A Member-driven organization, CIRA also facilitates the development of a better Internet for all Canadians, and represents the .CA registry internationally.

Our CIRA grant is now complete. Ongoing site development and maintenance will be a volunteer effort by the board members of Open Democracy Manitoba.

 

How did you make this website?

The website is powered by the following technologies: