Singapore GE: Maximum spending for election stays at $4 per voter

The spending limit was among the details announced by the Elections Department on June 18, 2020. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The maximum amount candidates can spend on each voter at the upcoming election will remain unchanged at $4.

The $4 limit was set during the 2015 General Election, up from $3.50 in 2011.

The spending limit was among the details announced by the Elections Department (ELD) on Thursday (June 18) during an online media briefing on campaigning guidelines.

The ELD, in a statement, said: "Candidates must keep within the election expenses limit stipulated in the Parliamentary Elections Act. The maximum spending limit for election expenses is currently S$4 for every elector on the Register of Electors for the electoral division in which the candidate is seeking election to be a Member of Parliament."

The ELD also furnished details of what candidates can and cannot do during the election.

Among other things, candidates will be allowed to display posters and banners throughout the campaign as long as they abide by the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations, the ELD said.

"In general, posters (mounted on plywood or cardboard) and banners may be hung on street lamp posts and trees along public roads." However, the ELD said, posters and banners cannot be displayed in public places without the authorisation of the returning officer.

It added that the permit issued by the returning officer will stipulate the conditions for displaying the materials, including where and how they can be displayed, and the number of posters and banners that can be displayed in the electoral division.

"Any unauthorised posters and banners will be removed by the returning officer or persons authorised by him," the ELD said. It added that candidates must bear the cost of removing any unauthorised posters or banners put up by them or their election agents.

Each removal will cost $50, and it will be considered part of the candidates' election expenses.

The ELD said civic, business or professional bodies are allowed to participate in political activities, or allow their funds or premises to be used for political purposes. However, they must ensure that they are not in breach of their constitutions or that their actions break any of the laws that govern them.

"Likewise, should the civic, business or professional body wish to endorse certain candidates and publish advertisements or issue press statements expressing its support for a candidate, it needs to ensure that its constitution allows it to do so," the ELD said.

It added that if such advertisements or statements amount to election advertising, then they must comply with the relevant rules under the Parliamentary Elections Act and its regulations.

Like in the last two elections, there will be a Cooling-Off Day.

All campaigning must stop from midnight on Cooling-off Day until voting closes on Polling Day, said the ELD.

First introduced in 2011, Cooling-Off Day is meant to give voters a chance to reflect rationally on the issues raised during the campaign before they cast their votes.

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