As Manitobans gear up for the 43rd general election on October 3, you can expect a more streamlined and efficient voting experience thanks to several key changes introduced for this year. Changes include voting anywhere in your electoral division, advanced technology, and enhanced security measures.

Vote Anywhere in Your Electoral Division

One of the most significant changes is the introduction of the "Vote Anywhere" initiative. On election day, voters are now able to cast their ballots at any polling place within their electoral division. The new system operates on a simple first come, first served basis. Advance voting, however, still allows Manitobans the flexibility to cast their votes at any advance poll throughout the province.

Leveraging Advanced Technology

Technology is playing a pivotal role in the updated voting process. Laptops equipped with access to the voters' list, scanners for quickly locating voters on the list via voter information cards, and printers for on-demand ballot printing are all part of the modernization effort. Notably, "Vote Counting Machines" (tabulators) are being introduced to scan and accurately record ballots. It is expected that this will mean results are known sooner on election night.

Voting Process Simplified

The voting process is similar to previous elections with voters marking their paper ballots behind privacy screens. The change comes as ballots are then placed in secrecy sleeves and handed to voting officers. The ballot is then fed into the "Vote Counting Machine," ensuring that neither the voting officer nor anyone else can view the voter's selection. The machine scans the ballot, records the selection, and saves an image of it, bolstering transparency.

Transparent Results Reporting

At the conclusion of the election day, the "Vote Counting Machines" will generate a print-out with the results, showing the number of votes received by each candidate, rejected and declined ballots, and the total ballots cast. Access to these results is restricted to authorized election officials, ensuring the confidentiality of the voting process until the polls have closed.

Maintaining Accuracy and Security

To maintain the integrity of the voting process, the new systems undergo rigorous testing to ensure accuracy. Additionally, secure storage and shipping procedures have been implemented. Key functions, such as opening and closing the polls and producing the count, can only be executed by authorized election officials. Scrutineers have the opportunity to observe set-up, opening, and closing procedures, and to further enhance security, "Vote Counting Machines" remain offline, disconnected from the internet. Furthermore, the inclusion of security features on ballots ensures that only those issued by Elections Manitoba can be accepted by the tabulators.

What Remains Unchanged

Despite these innovations, the fundamental principle of using paper ballots remains intact. Paper ballots will continue to be retained for recount purposes. Importantly, the essence of voting—safe, secure, and secret—is preserved. Nobody will have access to information about how an individual voted.

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