02/11/2015 04:22 EST | Updated 04/13/2015 05:59 EDT

Manitoba NDP Leadership Hopefuls Claim Support From Same People

WINNIPEG - Candidates in the race to become Manitoba NDP leader and premier are sometimes touting support from the same people.

Delegates to the party's March 8 leadership vote are being chosen at NDP constituency meetings across the province where candidates Premier Greg Selinger, Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton field slates of nominees who support them.

On a few occasions the same name has appeared on two slates.

Oswald said Wednesday her team has been careful to double-check supporters before putting them up for delegate status.

"I can't speak for the process that's being used in Mr. Selinger's campaign. I can tell you that in our campaign, we are working very, very hard to ensure that there are no surprises come delegate-selection meeting night," she said.

"We have done checks, double-checks and triple checks wherever possible."

Selinger and his campaign team rejected an interview request. His campaign co-manager Kathleen McCallum said in a brief statement that they work with members on the ground to identify supporters and build their slate.

"I believe this occurred in the 2009 leadership race, among all camps, and is not unusual in delegated conventions," she added.

The issue flared up at a meeting in Gimli on Tuesday night. Selinger's team appeared to win the night with a slate of 15 delegates, but two of them were also on Oswald's slate.

There was a similar question over one delegate in the Tuxedo constituency in Winnipeg.

The biggest example involves 92 delegates from the party's youth wing who are being chosen by mail-in ballot. An email from Selinger's campaign to youth members, obtained by The Canadian Press, touted 52 nominees as his supporters. But three of them are also on Oswald's youth slate and 10 are on Ashton's.

Delegate selection started less than a week ago. An unofficial count by The Canadian Press as of Wednesday had 136 for Ashton, 116 for Oswald, 47 for Selinger and three that were being claimed by two camps.

Some NDP members pushed in 2013 for every party member to have a vote. But the party has stayed with a delegate system that has different formulas for constituencies and unions. There are also automatic delegate slots for the party's governing council as well as for federal and provincial NDP politicians.

The number of delegates could be as high as 2,217, but will depend largely on whether unions are able to fill their 691 slots with qualified candidates. They must be active members of the NDP and of the union local that they represent.

Selinger has trailed his competitors so far, but his numbers are expected to rise toward the end of the week as inner-city constituencies elect delegates. He also has the backing of the head of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which is entitled to 288 delegates.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Least, Most Popular Premiers (March 2015) See Gallery