As Polling Day looms closer, we’ll soon see the campaigning madness start to wind down (not today though, there’s a gajillion rallies going on out there tonight). We’re talking about Cooling-Off Day — happening on Thursday, 10 September — where we, the citizens of Singapore will be spared from the campaign trucks, handshaking with MPs I never see around my neighbourhood on a normal day, 200gsm campaign material and the sorts. It will be a Singapore we’re familiar with — quiet and quotidian.
So what are the rules of Cooling-Off Day?
According to the Singapore Elections Department, the day before Polling Day is known as Cooling-Off Day. It was implemented at the 2011 General Elections — meaning that it is a relatively new thing in Singapore. On this day, there will be a prohibition against active election campaigning for a 24-hour period to give voters some much-needed time to reflect rationally on issues and their choices before voting.
The prohibition extends to activities such as the publishing and displaying of any campaign material (including on the Internet and by telephonic communication), visiting homes and workplaces of voters, wearing and displaying any party insignia or material in public, and holding election meetings and rallies.
There are some exceptions to the prohibition of campaign activities on Cooling-Off Day:
- Party political broadcasts on television;
- Reports in the newspapers, on radio and television relating to election matters;
- Approved posters and banners that were already up, and lawful Internet advertising that was already published before the eve of Polling Day;
- Books previously scheduled for publication;
- The transmission of personal political views by individuals to other individuals, on a non-commercial basis, using the Internet, telephone or electronic means; and
- Such activities or circumstances as may be prescribed by the Minister.
(Source: Singapore Elections Department)
This list, except for party political broadcasts, also applies on Polling Day itself.
We’re on to our last lap of party campaigning before we sit down to make our choices in peace tomorrow, so absorb all the information you can at the final leg of the rallies — there’re 15 going on tonight all over the country.
Choose wisely, and it’s to the polling stations on Friday!