Manitoba NDP begins voting for delegates to choose new leader

Tuesday is the first day of voting to choose NDP delegates, who will ultimately vote for a new leader for the provincial New Democrats.

Successful candidates will head to leadership convention on Sept. 16

Voting begins Tuesday for delegates to the Manitoba NDP leadership convention. (CBC News)

Voting is now officially open for delegates looking to select a new leader for the provincial NDP.

Former MLA Steve Ashton and MLA Wab Kinew are running the lead the New Democrats. Voting continues until Aug. 21. 

NDP president David Woodbury said the party implemented two major changes in the voting system in an effort to increase the number of people voting for delegates.

The first is a new system of proportional representation similar to ones used in Europe in order to make sure delegates represent constituencies more fairly, he said. 

"The NDP has been long-standing supporters of proportional representation at the federal level," Woodbury said, adding he wasn't sure whether the party had supported proportional representation at the provincial level.

Woodbury says there was some debate about dropping the delegate system in favour of a one-member, one vote system, but that suggestion did not garner enough votes to pass at the NDP convention in March. 

The other change is electronic voting, which is allowing people to vote from the comfort of their own homes after receiving a personal identification number, or at locations where computer terminals are set up, Woodbury said. "We've had a steady stream of people voting in advance and saying how smooth the whole process is."

"Delegate selection voting is one of the most exciting parts of the leadership race for members and the campaigns," said Woodbury. "I encourage every member to participate and make a plan to vote."

There are currently about 8,400 members in the provincial NDP. The leadership convention, which will be held at the RBC Convention Centre, opens on Sept. 16.

How the delegate system (basically) works

  • Each party member belongs to a constituency depending on where they live (just like in the regular provincial election).
  • In each constituency, people who wish to be delegates put forth their name by a certain date.
  • Delegates either declare their intention to vote for a candidate or declare themselves an independent (undecided).
  • Each constituency gets to vote for a select number of delegates.
  • Party members vote for delegates to represent them in their constituency.
  • Delegates head to the convention on Sept. 16 to vote on the party leader.