Cooling-off Day: No campaigning allowed today

Unlike during the rallies, one cannot wear, use, carry or display any political propaganda, including badges, symbols, flags, advertisements and posters, on Cooling-off Day.
Unlike during the rallies, one cannot wear, use, carry or display any political propaganda, including badges, symbols, flags, advertisements and posters, on Cooling-off Day.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG, ALPHONSUS CHERN

Day meant for voters to reflect on issues raised during election period

Today is Cooling-off Day, the traditional day of campaign silence before Singaporeans cast their vote on Polling Day.

Candidates cannot campaign and election advertising must not be published or displayed today and tomorrow, the Elections Department (ELD) said in a statement yesterday. First introduced in 2011, the day is meant to give voters a chance to reflect rationally on various issues raised during the election period before voting.

No one may canvass for votes or visit voters in their homes or workplaces for election activities.

Individuals and vehicles may also not wear, use, carry or display any political propaganda. This includes badges, symbols, flags, advertisements and posters.

Election rallies may not be held.

Publishing or displaying any election advertising in any electoral division, or on any vehicle or structure, is also banned.

Publishing election surveys and exit polls before the close of all polling stations is not allowed.

"Candidates and their supporters should refrain from conduct that goes against the spirit behind the prohibition against campaigning on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day," the ELD said yesterday.

Candidates should be mindful of how they conduct themselves in public and avoid any action that may be seen as campaigning, it said.

To avoid any misunderstanding, candidates should try not to visit their voters or attend public events in their constituencies today.

This is because they are likely to attract public attention and may be perceived to be canvassing for support there.

"At such events, candidates' presence, actions, communications and exchanges - including private exchanges - are highly visible and may be perceived as campaigning," the ELD added.

However, they can attend religious ceremonies for private prayer or worship, or functions in the course of their work, as long as this does not flout the general ban on campaigning and election advertising. Candidates can also wear a badge indicating their political party, or for independents, a replica of the symbol allotted to them.

Members of the public should not wear clothes that bear the image, election symbol or campaign message of a candidate.

There are some exceptions to these rules. Individuals can convey their personal political views to other individuals whether via the Internet, telephone or other electronic means. Approved posters or banners that were lawfully displayed before the start of Cooling-off Day can stay up.

Online election advertising published before the start of today is also allowed, if it was not changed after publication. However, automated deliveries of digital ads on social media platforms are not allowed.

Also exempted are reports on election matters in the newspapers, on radio and on television, as well as party political broadcasts scheduled from 9pm.

Books can be distributed or promoted if they were scheduled for publication independent of the elections, and if they are not sold at a discount.

All this means that candidates will likely be having meetings with their supporters or enjoying time with their families throughout the day, as they did in the 2011 elections.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'No campaigning allowed today'. Print Edition | Subscribe