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Election bumf

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Stefanson’s signs

Yeah, all you folks who live in Tuxedo, Heather Stefanson’s signs do look black.

No, she hasn’t turned into an anarchist goth, making a public protest against her party’s traditional royal blue. It was a printing glitch. The campaign’s original batch of signs are actually very, very dark blue and volunteers have been adding red "re-elect" stickers lately to bring out the blue a little more. It’s been a minor nightmare for the campaign.

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Teenage dirty tricks

The Grits recently got to the bottom of some online shenanigans that have been wasting their time and clogging up their website. The culprit might surprise you.

First, the back story. On the party’s website, you can sign up for a lawn sign. For a while someone was punking the party by using obviously fake names, like Joe Nincompoop. Then it evolved to names that sounded plausible but turned out to be fake when perky campaign workers called up Carlos Rodriguez to deliver his sign only to find Mr. Rodriguez never asked for one and was a little cranky about it. That happened over and over again.

So the Grits checked the IP address and found all the fake names were coming from the same computer. The Libs blocked that address. Then the fake names came again, this time from a different IP address, so the Liberal computer nerds tracked the server to the Manitoba Education Research and Learning Information Networks, a provincial agency run out of the Smart Park.

That sounded like it could be an overzealous NDPer, doing some dirty tricks. A little more digging found that wasn’t true, either. The server is also used by the Red River Valley School Division, which tracked the trouble to a high school and the high school pinpointed one computer lab. From there, the principal figured out which student was doing the punking and delivered the slapdown.

The Liberals were satisfied with that outcome. But it goes to show just how easy it is to trace online monkey business. So, best to stick with old-fashioned midnight signs raids.

 

Address the Issue

Every election, we hear some low-grade complaining about candidates who don’t live in their ridings, especially after Elections Manitoba publishes the official candidate list along with each candidate’s address. That ran in our paper two weeks ago (See the list - PDF, 1.89MB).

It’s easy to see just how many candidates live in River Heights instead of where they’re running. It’s always River Heights, don’t ask me why.

Using a very quick eyeball, I counted 35 candidates who don’t live where they’re running, especially in rural ridings where the Liberals and NDP have trouble getting people to put their names on the ballot.

Tory candidate Susan Auch lives in River Heights, not in Assiniboine, where she’s running, partly because she’s got three kids and aging parents and couldn’t find a house big enough in her riding, say her campaign staff. NDP MLA Jim Rondeau has been not-so-subtly making use of that tidbit in the race. Meanwhile, Tory candidate Marty Morantz lives in Tuxedo, just outside River Heights where he’s running. A Green candidate running in inner-city Logan lives on Wellington Crescent, according to Elections Manitoba.

I always wonder how much voters care about that sort of thing. Premier Gary Doer didn’t live in Concordia for much of his time in the legislature and it never really hurt him.

You tell me. If a candidate is competent, good at the door, and knows the riding, how big a deal is it if he or she lives elsewhere?

Update:

Someone just pointed out that Assiniboia NDP MLA Jim Rondeau actually lives in Kirkfield Park, according to the address listed by Elections Manitoba.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first covering city hall and then the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter. Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school. She has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category.

She was a Southam journalism fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College in 2012-13, where she studied indigenous issues, urban planning and political science. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists and has served on several boards.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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