Manitoba Municipal Government
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The following are some answers to frequently asked questions about municipal elections:
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1. When do municipal elections take place?
2. Who is the Senior Election Official (SEO)?
3. What are the responsibilities of council in a municipal election?
4. What is a by-election?
Manitoba municipal elections are held every four years. The general Election Day is always the fourth Wednesday in October. The next general municipal election will be held on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
The Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach, the Town of Winnipeg Beach, and the Village of Dunnottar hold elections every four years on the fourth Friday in July. In 2010, Election Day is Friday, July 25, 2014.
The Senior Election Official (SEO) is the person appointed by the municipality to exercise general direction and supervision over the conduct of municipal elections. In the past, this person was called the Returning Officer. The SEO will be your primary contact person should you have any questions about municipal elections, such as voting place locations, alternative voting opportunities, nominations, questions about the voters list, etc. Your municipal office will have the SEO's contact information if you are unsure who the SEO is in your municipality.
In order to uphold the integrity of the election process, municipal councils are responsible only for certain key election decisions. These decisions include:
A by-election is an election that is not conducted as part of a general election and is held as a result of a vacancy on a council or school board. The Senior Election Official must hold a by-election when requested to do so by a council, as soon as reasonably practicable after the vacancy occurs. When setting the date, the Senior Election Official must give consideration to voter participation and the availability of election workers.
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1. What is the term length of municipal elected officials?
2. Do municipal officials receive a salary for their service?
3. What are the qualifications to run for municipal council?
4. Can I run for office if I work for the municipality?
5. Can I run for office in a municipal election if I am a federal public servant?
6. May I hold elected office in a school division and municipality at the same time?
7. I am a councillor, and the Mayor has just resigned. Can I run for the office of Mayor / Reeve in the upcoming by-election?
8. When can I start campaigning?
9. When can I register?
10. Can the public view my registration form?
11. Are there any rules about spending money for my campaign, or reporting the amounts I spend?
12. Can I pick up nomination papers when I register?
13. How many people need to nominate me to run for office?
14. When do I have to file my nomination papers?
15. Can the public view my nomination papers?
16. What if I decide I don't want to run for office after I've filed my nomination?
17. Can I have campaign signs at the voting place on Election Day?
18. I have been asked by a candidate to act as scrutineer. What does a scrutineer do?
19. How many scrutineers is a candidate allowed to appoint?
20. Is a candidate entitled to act as a scrutineer?
21. Is the scrutineer able to wear or display anything that shows they represent a particular candidate?
If elected to a municipal council, you will be expected to serve a four year term. Officially, the term begins at noon the day after Election Day.
Members of council generally receive a small amount in recognition of the time and energy they have devoted to their communities. Each council sets the type and rates of payments to members so it varies for each municipality. The Municipal Act requires the municipality's annual financial statement to show the amount of compensation.
You may run for municipal office if you:
You are strongly encouraged to speak with the Senior Election Official if you have any questions about your qualifications.
You may not run for municipal office if you:
Yes, but only if you obtain a leave of absence. Section 92 of The Municipal Act allows any employee, except the Chief Administrative Officer, to apply for a leave of absence before the close of nominations in order to run in a municipal election.
A federal public servant wishing to seek nomination as or be a candidate in a municipal election must first obtain permission from the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC). An employee can make public his or her intention to be a candidate and undertake candidacy related activities only after the PSC has granted the permission.
More information is available on the PSC Web site at www.psc-cfp.gc.ca under the "Political Activities and You" section or by contacting the PSC at 1-866-707-7152, or at email@example.com.
You may not run for municipal office if you are a sitting member, or are nominated to run for office, in another local authority (including a school division). You may not run for school division office if you are a sitting member, or are nominated to run for office, in another local authority (including a municipality). A sitting councillor or school trustee must first resign from their position in order to run in a by-election.
Any sitting councillor must first resign from their current position in order to run for head of council. The resignation must be submitted at least 42 days before the by-election, so it is possible to run additional by-elections at the same time.
You must register before you can begin to accept contributions and spend money on your campaign. To register, you must fill out a Registration Form, available from your municipality's Senior Election Official.
Candidates must register within a certain timeframe.
For Victoria Beach, Winnipeg Beach, and Dunnottar:
For all other municipalities:
Yes, your registration form is kept in the possession of the Senior Election Official. Interested members of the public may view it during the Senior Election Official's regular office hours.
Yes. Campaign finance rules are in place for all municipalities under The Municipal Act.
Please see the campaign finance section below for more information.
Yes. The Senior Election Official will have nomination papers available for you when you register.
At least one percent of the eligible voters in your municipality must sign in support of your nomination. These voters must appear on the municipality's voters list to be considered eligible. For example, if there are 1,679 eligible voters, you must obtain at least 17 signatures. The maximum number of signatures you must obtain is 25 – the minimum is two. Talk to the Senior Election Official to ensure you know the minimum number of signatures you need on your nomination form.
All candidates must file nomination papers, available from the Senior Election Official in order to run for election.
Papers must be filed during the nomination period. The nomination period is:
Yes, once you file your nomination papers, they are kept in the possession of the Senior Election Official. Interested members of the public may view them during the Senior Election Official's regular office hours.
If you file your nomination, and then decide that you do not want to run for office, you may withdraw your name under certain conditions. Your withdrawal will only be accepted up until 24 hours after the nomination period closes, and only if enough candidates remain to fill the offices. You must sign your withdrawal in the presence of a witness, and file it with the Senior Election Official during office hours.
There are strict rules regarding political activities at voting places. Any activity in contravention of the Act may be considered an election offence and could have serious repercussions. No person may, within 50 metres of a voting place:
If a candidate's sign is located within 50 metres of a voting place on Election Day, an election official is empowered by legislation to remove it, or may order the candidate or official agent to remove it or obscure it immediately. A person that contravenes a provision of The Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act is guilty of an election offence.
The role of the scrutineer is to assist the candidate with tracking the progress of the vote on Election Day (and any alternative voting opportunities, such as advance or sealed envelope voting), to raise legitimate objections regarding a voter's qualifications, and to observe the ballot count after the voting places close.
Scrutineers are also entitled to be present at any alternative voting opportunities, such as advance voting or to observe the sealed envelope ballot count. It would be helpful to check with the Senior Election Official to get a complete sense of the responsibilities and authorities of scrutineers.
The appointment of a scrutineer must be made in writing and filed with the Senior Election Official. The Senior Election Official will have a standard form that can be used for the appointment. The scrutineer must bring a copy of this form to present to the voting official while on duty. The scrutineer should also keep a copy of the appointment form at all times so that the scrutineer can identify themselves when asked.
The legislation states that a maximum of two scrutineers (per candidate) are entitled to be present at a voting station at one time. However, a candidate can appoint as many scrutineers as he / she would like.
A candidate is entitled to undertake the duties of a scrutineer or may assist scrutineers. However the rule still applies that there may be no more than two scrutineers at a voting station at one time.
On Election Day, scrutineers may wear a badge or ribbon indicating, by colour alone (not name), the candidate they represent. No other person may wear anything that identifies the person as a supporter of the candidate.
1. When am I allowed to accept contributions and spend money on my campaign?
2. Do I have to set up a campaign account at a bank or credit union?
3. Who can contribute to my campaign?
4. What do I do if I receive anonymous or ineligible contributions?
5. Is there a limit to the amount that an individual can contribute to one candidate?
6. Can I hold a fundraiser for my campaign?
7. Am I allowed to receive non-monetary contributions, such as goods or services?
8. Can I take out a loan to help pay for my campaign?
9. Is there a limit on the expenses that I can incur during my campaign?
10. What is considered to be a campaign expense?
11. Do I have to keep track of my campaign contributions and expenses? How do I do this?
12. What is an Election Finance Statement?
13. Do I need to file an Election Finance Statement if I have no campaign contributions or expenses?
14. When do I have to file my Election Finance Statement?
15. What happens if I don't file my Election Finance Statement on time?
16. What do I do if my Election Finance Statement shows a surplus?
17. Am I allowed to show a deficit on my Election Finance Statement?
18. Do campaign finance rules apply to by-elections?
Candidates can begin accepting contributions and accepting money on their campaign as soon as they are registered. Candidates may spend money and collect contributions during the entire campaign period.
For Victoria Beach. Winnipeg Beach, and Dunnottar:
Candidates must set up a campaign account at a financial institution (e.g., bank, credit union, caisse populaire) if they are going to receive monetary contributions.
The campaign account must be used only for election purposes.
Details of the account, including the name of the financial institution, and the account number need to be provided to the Senior Election Official on your Registration Form.
Where the candidate is the only contributor and expenditures are minor a campaign account may be unnecessary or unreasonable. In such circumstances, it is essential that candidates keep records of all expenditures they make, together with receipts.
Only residents of Manitoba can contribute to a municipal campaign. A candidate cannot receive contributions from unions, corporations, or any other organization (e.g., chamber of commerce, rotary club, etc.). Candidates also cannot receive anonymous contributions.
Anonymous contributions must be turned over to the Senior Election Official.
Contributions from non-Manitoba residents, unions, corporations, etc. must be returned to the contributor.
Yes. The maximum amount that any person may contribute to one candidate is set in legislation. Monetary and non-monetary contributions are counted towards the limit.
An individual may contribute up to $1,500 to a mayor/reeve candidate and councillors to be elected at large, or $750 to a councillor candidate to be elected by ward.
These contribution limits also apply to candidates and their spouses.
Yes. However, if you hold a fundraiser to raise money for your campaign, part of the revenue you raise will be considered a contribution.
Candidates should check with their municipality's Chief Administrative Officer for more information.
Candidates may receive non-monetary contributions, for example the donation of a good or service.
When the good or service is provided by a person who earns a living providing that good or service (e.g., the design of your campaign pamphlet from a professional graphic designer, etc.), the value of the good or service must be recorded as a non-monetary contribution.
However, not every good or service a candidate receives is a contribution. For example, it is not a contribution if a neighbour bakes muffins for your campaign workers or a friend helps you design a campaign pamphlet.
If you are unsure whether a contribution can be accepted, check with your municipality's Chief Administrative Officer.
Yes. Candidates can borrow money for their campaign however there are certain restrictions, including how loans are to be repaid:
Any loans must be repaid by the time a candidate files their Election Finance Statement.
Yes. An expense limit will be set by your municipality, by by-law.
Candidates should check with their municipality's Chief Administrative Officer to determine their expense limit. The information is also included in your municipality's Campaign Expenses and Contributions Bylaw.
Eligible expenses may include but are not limited to:
Expenses also include campaign-related costs incurred by volunteers.
If you are unsure as to what is an eligible expense, and counted toward your expense limit, check with your municipality's Chief Administrative Officer.
Yes. You must keep track of any contributions received or money spent on your campaign. You will need this information to file your Election Finance Statement.
Candidates must keep financial records (e.g., copies of receipts, cancelled cheques, bank statements, etc.) from their campaign for at least 2 years after the election. This information must be available on request to your municipality's Chief Administrative Officer.
Each municipality will determine in its Campaign Expenses and Contributions Bylaw how candidates are to keep records of contributions and expenses. Basic information will include:
All registered candidates must file an Election Finance Statement. This includes both elected candidates and unelected candidates (those who were registered but never nominated, those who withdrew, or those who were not elected).
Once the election is over, all registered candidates must file an Election Finance Statement with the municipality's Chief Administrative Officer. The Chief Administrative Officer or the Senior Election Official can provide you with the Election Finance Statement to be filled out.
Candidate's statements are available for public inspection at your municipal office. They must include:
Yes. All registered candidates must file Election Finance Statements. If you have no campaign contributions or expenses you are required to file a nil statement by the appropriate deadline.
There are strict deadlines for filing Election Finance Statements. The deadline is established in your municipality's Campaign Expenses and Contributions Bylaw. Check with your Chief Administrative Officer for the filing date for your municipality.
It is recommended that candidates file their Election Finance Statement as soon as possible after the election, to ensure that there is enough time to address any matters that may arise.
Candidates must file their Election Finance Statement on time or face penalties.
Elected candidates who do not file on time will not be allowed to sit on council, or may be disqualified from council.
Registered candidates who are not nominated, withdraw, or not elected, and who fail to file will not be allowed to run for council until after the next general municipal election.
Any surplus showing on a candidate's Election Finance Statement must be turned over to the municipality.
The municipality will return the funds to the candidate if the individual registers as a candidate in the next general election. If the individual chooses not to run, the money will be transferred to the general funds of the municipality.
It is very important for candidates to manage their campaigns to ensure their expenses do not exceed their contributions.
Yes. Campaign finance rules are in effect for all by-elections and general municipal elections.
1. Who is eligible to vote in a municipal election?
2. I don't live in the municipality, but I own property - can I vote?
3. For school division elections, if I don't reside in the school division, but own property - can I vote?
4. How can I find out if my municipal councillors are elected in wards?
5. My municipality has wards. I live in one ward and own property in another. Can I vote in both?
6. I own property in two wards in a municipality - Can I vote in both wards?
7. I live in one municipality, and own property in another municipality. Can I vote in both municipal elections?
8. My property is registered in the name of a corporation. Am I qualified to vote as a non-resident owner in the municipal election where that property is located?
9. I am a member of a First Nation, living on reserve. Can I vote in a municipal election?
There are two types of voters that are qualified to vote in a municipal election.
Persons with no fixed address may vote in a municipal election. If the person has no ordinary or "fixed" residence in the local authority, they are deemed to reside at the shelter, hostel or other similar institution that most frequently provides lodging, food or other social services.
Non-resident Voters: In order to qualify as a non-resident voter, a person must
For municipal election purposes, "registered owner of land" means:
If you are a resident of Manitoba, own property in the municipality, and are otherwise qualified to vote, you may be able to vote in the municipal election as a non-resident property owner.
If you own property with other non-resident property owners, only two of you can vote. You must obtain written consent from the majority of the other property owners and file this with the Senior Election Official in order to vote.
No, for school division elections, you must be a resident of the school division to be eligible to vote. Non-resident property voters may only vote in municipal elections.
It is up to the local council to decide whether councillors are elected at-large or by wards. Contact your local municipal office to find out whether a ward by-law is in place in your municipality.
No, you may only vote once in an election within a municipality. If you live in one ward and own property in another ward, you must vote in the ward where you reside.
No, you may only vote once in an election within a municipality. If you own property in two wards, you must notify the Senior Election Official of the ward where you would like to vote. If you do not choose a ward at least six weeks before Election Day, the Senior Election Official will choose one for you.
Yes, if you are qualified as a resident voter in one municipality, and are qualified as a non-resident property owner in another municipality, you can vote in both municipal elections.
No, the owners of a corporation or a company do not quality to vote in a municipal election as non-resident owners. Unless you are a resident of that local authority, your property must be registered in your name and not in the name of a corporation before you qualify to vote.
Persons residing within a First Nations reserve are not residents of any municipality, and are therefore not qualified to vote in a municipal election. First Nations reserves are excluded from municipal boundaries, as set out in the Municipal Status and Boundaries Regulation (567/88 R). However, if you reside on a First Nations reserve, but own property in a municipality, you are entitled to vote as a non-resident property owner.
1. Do I need identification in order to vote?
2. Do I get time off work to vote in a local election?
3. If I am not on the voters list, can I still register to vote on Election Day?
4. Am I allowed to look at the voters list?
5. How will I know where to vote?
6. If a voter accidentally spoils their ballot, can they request a replacement ballot?
7. Can I take someone into the voting compartment with me?
8. How can a visually impaired or blind person be assisted in marking their ballot?
9. How many voters may a person assist in marking their ballot?
10. I have difficulty understanding the voting official because I am not fluent in the language being spoken. How can I be assisted in marking my ballot?
A voter may be asked to produce identification before being given a ballot by the voting official if there are questions about the voter's eligibility. All voters should bring identification with them to the voting place, or when requesting a sealed envelope ballot in person. Even voters who request a sealed envelope ballot in writing must submit photocopies of their ID when applying to vote. Acceptable identification includes an official document issued by the federal, provincial or municipal government that contains the voter's name, address and photograph or at least two documents that provide evidence satisfactory to the election official.
No. Voting places are open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. to provide enough time to vote. In addition, the law requires municipalities to provide at least one advance voting opportunity, as well as a sealed envelope voting opportunity. There are plenty of additional opportunities so that people who are unable to vote on general Election Day are still able to vote.
Yes, any qualified voter who is not on the voters list can vote on Election Day. However, you will be asked to provide photo identification when registering to vote, so ensure you bring acceptable identification with you to the voting station. If you are not sure of the voting station you are to attend, contact your local municipal office.
A voter is only entitled to view his / her own personal information on the voters list to determine whether it is correct. Voters may contact their Senior Election Official to find out a good time to view their information, if interested. Only candidates, their official agents and election officials are entitled to view the full voters list, and the information on the voters list may be used for election purposes only.
Your municipal government is required to give notice of the locations of voting places in the local newspaper, or by mailing / distributing a copy to every household in the municipality. Keep your eye on the paper prior to Election Day, or phone your Senior Election Official or local municipal office.
Yes, if a voter accidentally spoils their ballot paper, it can be returned to the voting official and the person will be given another ballot. The returned ballot is immediately marked "spoiled" and is placed in a special envelope for spoiled ballots.
Yes. A voter with a physical disability or who has difficulty reading may ask the voting official to allow another person to help with marking his / her ballot. The "friend of the voter" must be at least 18 years of age, must not have assisted more than one other person, and must take an oath that he / she will preserve the secrecy of the vote. In addition, any election official may assist a voter that requires help marking his / her ballot.
A template should be available to assist a visually impaired voter in marking their ballot. The template allows the voter to mark the ballot by lining up the template circles over the ballot, and marking the appropriate circle for the candidate of their choice. The election official may be asked to assist the voter in getting to and from the voting compartment, but must leave the voting compartment while the voter marks the ballot (unless the voter requests further assistance from the election official).
In addition, the voter may wish for an election official or friend to accompany him / her to the voting compartment to assist in marking the ballot according to the voter's wishes.
Except for an election official, who may assist as many voters as required, a person may assist no more than two voters in marking their ballot.
The Senior Election Official may appoint an interpreter to assist at voting places. If the Senior Election Official knows that there are a large number of voters who speak a language other than the one being used at the voting place, the Senior Election Official may decide to appoint an interpreter. If no interpreter is available, the voter may ask for the assistance of an election official when voting.
1. I won't be here on Election Day - how can I vote?
2. Can I vote by mail?
3. Can I vote through the Internet?
Local authorities are required to hold at least one advance voting opportunity between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and can choose to offer additional opportunities. The Senior Election Official will set a date for advance voting, which can be anywhere between the day when ballots are printed up until 48 hours before Election Day. The Senior Election Official must give public notice of the date and location so that voters are informed of the advance voting opportunity. Contact your Senior Election Official or local municipal office for more information.
Yes, interested voters should contact the Senior Election Official to obtain an application form. Voters may apply to the Senior Election Official to vote by sealed envelope either in person, by mail or by fax. Remember to apply early enough so that you can return the marked ballot to the Senior Election Official by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
If applying in person, be sure to bring appropriate ID with you. Ballots should be ready to pick up in person 28 days before Election Day.
If applying by mail or by fax, you will be required to submit a photocopy of identification with the application. Voters may apply up to three months before the election, and a sealed envelope ballot package will be sent to the voter when ballots are ready. If you apply more than twelve days before the election, the sealed envelope ballot package will me mailed to you. If less than twelve days remain between the day you apply and Election Day, the Senior Election Official. will discuss with you the best delivery method to ensure the ballot reaches you in time to return it by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
No, Internet voting is not available in Manitoba.
1. Can a member of council act as an election official?
2. Must the appointment of election officials be made annually?
3. What can be done if one of the appointed election officials becomes ill and cannot complete their duties?
4. What can be done to expedite the printing of ballots for the municipal election?
5. How can the election officials keep order in the voting place and attend to their duties if someone creates a disturbance at the voting place?
6. What should be considered when selecting and setting up a voting place?
7. Can a voting place be established in the basement of a community hall or in the lounge area at the Legion?
8. According to The Municipal Councils and School Boards Elections Act, the voting place must be open at 8:00 a.m. on Election Day, and close at 8:00 p.m. If there is a power outage or a snowstorm which makes it difficult or impossible to keep the voting place open, how can we meet the legislated time-frame?
9. What kinds of signs can be posted at the voting place on Election Day?
10. Who can be present at the voting station on Election Day?
No, elected officials (mayor, reeve, members of council) cannot be appointed as election officials.
No, the appointment of the Senior Election Official is in place until such time as council appoints another person to act as Senior Election Official. The election officials appointed by the Senior Election Official, however, are made at the discretion of the Senior Election Official. The Senior Election Official will likely make additional appointments in an election year, and the same election officials may not be available during each election.
The Senior Election Official should have a list of alternate election officials who could be called in and appointed on short notice. Remember, any appointed election official must take the required oath before commencing their duties.
One of the duties of the Senior Election Official is to ensure that the ballots are printed and ready in time for Election Day, but also for alternative voting opportunities. Remember that voters may apply in person to vote by sealed envelope ballot 28 days before the election, so the Senior Election Official should ensure ballots are ready for this day.
It is recommended that arrangements be made by the end of May for printing of ballots in an election year. Tenders (if required) can be arranged well before the nomination period begins. Once a printer is chosen, they can be advised of the number, type and potential set up of the ballots. This will ensure that the preliminary arrangements are made in order to speed up the processing time once the candidate names are confirmed.
The Senior Election Official needs to decide ahead of time whether the order of the candidates' names on the ballots will be by random or rotational order and should advise candidates when they file their nominations. If random ordering is chosen, the Senior Election Official should be advising candidates and / or their official agents of the date, time and location when name ordering will be determined. This date should be very soon after the candidate withdrawal period ends (24 hours after the nomination period closes) so that the final lay-out of the ballot can be provided to the printer as soon as possible.
An election official may require a peace officer or other person to assist in maintaining peace and order at a voting place.
A voting place must be in a convenient location for the majority of voters served by it. The Senior Election Official must also take all necessary steps to ensure the voting place is accessible to persons with disabilities. Many municipal sites will serve well as voting places, such as community centres, recreation centres and / or church halls. Some considerations for setting up a voting place include:
As far as practicable, the voting place must be accessible to all voters, including wheelchair users, so a basement would not be a good location. A voting place must also not be in any premise licensed under The Liquor Control Act, including the lounge area at the Legion.
If an emergency situation arises during voting hours, the legislation allows the voting to be temporarily suspended and continued when circumstances allow. If the voting is interrupted at any time during Election Day, it is to resume for a period equal to the period of the interruption. This period must be within seven days and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
The only type of signs that are allowed to be posted within 50 metres of the voting place are signs posted by election officials, which could include directions for voters on where to proceed for marking their ballots or signs directing people to parking areas. Unauthorized signs will be removed. Candidates should be advised of the requirements prior to Election Day and requested to comply.
The only persons that can be present at the voting stations are:
1. Who can be present when ballots are being counted?
2. When will the election results be available?
3. What happens if there is a tie vote?
4. What if I have concerns about the election count?
5. What happens to election documents after the election?
The only persons that can be present during the count are:
The methods of handling and announcing the results of the election will vary, depending on the municipality. When the voting places close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, all election ballots, including advanced, sealed envelope and mobile ballots, must be counted in the presence of a voting official, another election official, the candidate and / or agents and scrutineers. After the count is complete, the ballots and all election materials are delivered to the Senior Election Official. The Senior Election Official will then announce the official results as soon as possible.
If a tie for office is confirmed, and no objection was raised about any ballot, the Senior Election Official must declare the office vacant and immediately call a by-election. This means that any interested candidates will have to re-register, a new nomination period will be set, and any candidates will be required to file a nomination form, including those candidates that ran in the general election.
A voter may apply for a judicial recount within 14 days of the election if it is believed that the ballots were not correctly accepted, rejected or discarded by the voting official during the count, or if the voter believes the statement of the vote is incorrect or the official results are inaccurate.
Documents and materials related to the election that are in the possession of the Senior Election Official – such as nomination papers, the statement of the vote, or the official results – are available for public inspection up to six months after the election. However, this does not include ballots or personal security certificates as these are kept confidential to uphold secrecy requirements under the legislation.
After the six month period, the Senior Election Official is required to destroy the ballots.
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