Manitoba votes today. Here’s what you need to know

Voters in Manitoba are heading to the polls today as municipal elections get underway across the province.

That includes people in Winnipeg, who will elect a new mayor for the first time since 2014.

Polling stations — 198 of them — open at 8 a.m. at sites across the provincial capital, senior election official and city clerk Marc Lemoine said on Tuesday. They’ll be open until 8 p.m. — and as long as you’re in line before then, you’ll get to cast your ballot, he said.

While residents were allowed to visit any site to vote during advance polling, voters will have to go to their specific assigned site on election day, Lemoine said.

You can find that address in the orange box on the voter’s notice you got in the mail, he said, holding up a sample notice the city made up for an imaginary voter named Willow Rosenberg — a name also carried by a witch from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A person holds up a sample of a voter's notice made for Winnipeg's 2022 election.
Not sure where to vote on Wednesday? One option is to find that location in the orange box on your voter’s notice — seen here on a sample version. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

“Whatever we can do to get people out to the polls, right? That’s what I’m all about,” Lemoine said.

If you don’t have a voter’s notice, you can also find out where to vote by typing your address into this page on the city’s website or by calling 311, Lemoine said.

You can find more details here about how to vote and what to bring.

While a record number of people in Winnipeg already cast their ballots in advance polling, many still have yet to vote.

There was also an increase in the number of people voting by mail, with about 800 this year compared to 200 in the last civic election, Lemoine said.

Election officials have also already tested all the city’s voting machines with 50,000 premarked ballots — and the results were perfect, Lemoine said.

“So we’re very confident in terms of the results coming out of those machines,” he said.

Ballot counting will start after polls close at 8 p.m., Lemoine said, beginning with advance ballots, then moving on to votes cast on election day. Once results are in at each station, election workers drive the final results over to city hall — then they get posted online, he said.

A man in a button-up shirt and blazer smiles.
Marc Lemoine is the City of Winnipeg’s senior election official and city clerk. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

First results are expected between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m., while the bulk of the results are expected by around 9:15 p.m., Lemoine said. All the results should be in by around 9:45 p.m, he said.

CBC will host a live Winnipeg election results show, which you can watch on our website, our Facebook page and on CBC Gem from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.

For Winnipeg voters still trying to decide who should be the city’s next mayor, you can check out this list of what the candidates have promised and these one-on-one interviews with CBC.

Five of the candidates also participated in CBC’s mayoral candidates debate last week, which you can watch here.

New councillors coming to Winnipeg city hall

On top of electing a new mayor, Winnipeg will also vote for city councillors in 13 of its 15 wards. The other two were elected by default after no one ran against them. 

Those races include Transcona, where a sitting councillor faces his predecessor, and Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood and St. James, where the competitions are wide open because their incumbents are running for mayor — meaning Winnipeg is guaranteed to get at least two new councillors.

The other wards that will elect councillors are Daniel McIntyre, Elmwood-East Kildonan, Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry, Mynarski, North Kildonan, Point Douglas, River Heights-Fort Garry, St. Boniface, St. Vital and Waverley West.

While a record number of people in Winnipeg already cast their ballots in advance polling, many still have yet to vote. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

School trustee controversy

You can read the full list of who’s running for school trustee in Winnipeg on the city’s website.

Those races haven’t been without controversy. It’s believed at least a dozen people running for school trustee positions in Winnipeg are vocal critics of pandemic-era restrictions, some of whom gained widespread notoriety for their dissent.

Concerns have also been raised about Manitoba’s election laws related to school trustee races, since the current rules don’t require disclosure about who’s financing a campaign. 

Rural races heating up

Almost half of Manitoba’s municipalities holding elections this year will see their head of council — either mayors or reeves — elected by default because no one ran against them.

But the city of Brandon is among those which will have a mayoral race — the first in Manitoba’s second-largest city since 2014. Residents there are guaranteed to elect a new mayor, as Rick Chrest isn’t running for re-election.

So are several other communities across the province, from Portage la Prairie and Dauphin in southwest Manitoba to Flin Flon, The Pas and Lynn Lake in the north.

Meanwhile, the mayoral race in the southern Manitoba city of Winkler will see a city councillor face off against a man who failed to turn the community into a sanctuary city immune from pandemic restrictions.