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September 10, 2019

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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 Monday, August 26th 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 August 26th 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. We will not list phone or email contact information for an incumbent’s office in the Manitoba Legislature.

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 the 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 2019 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: vote@opendemocracymanitoba.ca

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 Sept 7, 2019  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?

Articles are automatically gathered from local news sources by searching for the names of the candidates in the upcoming Winnipeg municipal election, using the machine readable news syndication feeds.

In 2011 and 2016 candidate news mentions were gathered using Google News. For this election, we are gathering the news directly from the following local news sources: APTN Manitoba, Brandon Sun, CBC Manitoba, ChrisD, CTV, Global News, Ici Radio Canada / CBC Francais, La Liberte, Manitoba Cooperator, My Steinbach, My Westman, Pembina Valley Online, Steinbach Online, The Graphic Leader, The Manitoban (UofM), The Producer, The Projector (RRC), The Reminder, The Uniter (UofW), Thompson Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, and the Winnipeg Sun. Candidate news mentions are news articles from the above listed sources that mention a candidate by name.

In order to treat all candidates equally, our news gathering is an automated process and we will not manually add news stories to a ward or candidate page; this prevents us from introducing subjective judgement calls. 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. We will only remove news articles in cases where the candidate is mistaken for another person with the same name.

For the 2019 election period we will display candidate news articles published after June 1st, 2019.

To report an article that has been incorrectly associated with a candidate please email us at vote@opendemocracymanitoba.ca.

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 seven registered parties, listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Communist Party of Canada – Manitoba
  • Manitoba First
  • Manitoba Forward Party
  • 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?

Candidates were sent questionnaires by email from August 28th to September 1st, 2019.

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.

We collect the required candidate 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.

What questions will you ask each candidate in your questionnaire?

  1. Why did you decide to run in the Manitoba election?
  2. Why should a voter consider electing you to represent them?
  3. What key issue(s) / topic(s) will you stand for in your role as MLA, and why are these important to you?
  4. 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 key issue(s) / topic(s) does your party stands for, and why are these important?
  2. What are the first things you will do if you form government after this election?
  3. What makes your party different from other political parties?
  4. Do you have any other comments regarding your party that you would like to share?

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. 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 early development of this website was funded in 2014 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 work was completed in 2015. Ongoing site development and maintenance is now a volunteer effort by the board members of Open Democracy Manitoba.

How did you make this website?

This site was built with love by the volunteer efforts of Open Democracy Manitoba board members, Andrew Burton, Ken Harasym, Mike Lennon, and Kyle Geske. 

This website was developed with support from a team of Red River College students. Simranjeet Hunjan, Joel Hurtig and Heng Yu worked full-time as web programmers on this site from January to April of 2018 as part of their RRC Business Information Technology project term. Dan Axelsson also worked during this time as scrum master and technical analyst as part of his RRC Business Technology Management project term. Much of the site design was created by Ashley Jaworenko and Ashley Rebillard as part of an assignment in the RRC Graphic Design program.

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