Skip to main content

Storms, firewall issues cause Manitoba election day delays

 (File image) (File image)

Thunderstorms and website issues threw a series of curve balls at polling officials during Tuesday’s provincial election, the first to see the introduction of new technology meant to reduce lineups and get results faster.

Elections Manitoba told CTV News Winnipeg in an email, that issues started in the morning with storms that disrupted power at polling locations in many areas.

Manual ballot boxes were used so voting could continue until power was restored. Ballots cast manually and by vote-counting machine then had to be combined once polls were closed, Elections Manitoba said.

The vote-counting machines, also known as tabulators, were added this year along with laptops with secure access to the voter list, scanners for voter information cards, and printers for printing ballots on demand, instead of write-in ballots for advanced voting.

The new technology was aimed at modernizing the electoral process. Elections Manitoba called the move ‘ambitious in scope’, with over 900 polling places equipped with significant technology and contingency plans.

The agency says new reporting and reconciliation procedures also extended the vote count time.

Adding to the issues – firewall problems on the independent agency’s website.

“We are investigating what happened, but these problems caused interruptions to website access,” Mike Ambrose, Elections Manitoba’s director of communications and public information said in an email.

However, Ambrose notes a lot went well with the delivery of the election.

The electronic voter list, bar code scanners and the printing of on-demand ballots allowed them to offer better service and more opportunities for Manitobans to participate, the spokesperson said.

“While we didn’t deliver the results quite as quickly as we would have liked, Manitobans can be assured that this was a free and fair election.”

Meantime, Elections Manitoba says just over 472,000 Manitobans cast a ballot in the election, equating to a 54 per cent voter turnout.

A record 200,790 people voted in advanced polls.

- With files from CTV’s Kayla Rosen and The Canadian Press Top Stories

Stay Connected