Some ballots for Manitoba Tory leadership vote not delivered by mail in time

·2 min read

WINNIPEG — Some members of Manitoba's governing Progressive Conservative party have not received ballots needed to vote in this week's leadership contest.

Party officials said about 25,000 ballots had been mailed out, but some — they would not say how many — didn't get to their destination.

"There have been a limited number of undeliverable ballots returned to our office," read a written statement from the party's leadership committee, which did not agree to an interview request.

"Postal delivery is no longer a viable option to distribute replacement ballots. We are doing all we can to ensure all eligible members have an opportunity to cast their ballot, including offering ballot pickup locations."

The clock was ticking, as party members had until late Friday afternoon to receive and fill out a ballot, then return it via mail or by dropping it off in person at designated locations.

The Tories are choosing between former cabinet minister Heather Stefanson, widely considered the favourite with the backing of most caucus members, and former Conservative member of Parliament Shelly Glover. The party is to announce the winner Saturday.

The Tories normally have an in-person convention to select their leader, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted them to rely on mail. The party also adopted a schedule that allowed only one month between the deadline to become a member and the deadline to submit a ballot.

Kelvin Goertzen, the interim party leader and premier who took over after Brian Pallister retired last month, said problems during leadership races are not unusual.

"Almost any mail-in ballot process that I've heard (of) has some degree of concern because, in some ways, you lose control of those ballots when they leave your party headquarters," he said.

"I also know how hard those individuals who are on that leadership committee, and the volunteers that are at the party, are working and I think they believe they can work through the vast majority of challenges."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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