The Elections Department (ELD) has reminded the public to not publish, post, or repost election surveys and exit polls.
While paid online election advertising (OEA) is solely reserved for election candidates, unpaid online election advertising can only be conducted by Singapore Citizens, it said in a press release on Aug. 22.
No publication of election surveys and exit polls
Publishing the results of an election survey is not permitted during the election period, once the Writ of Election has been issued.
The Writ was issued on Aug. 11 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
An election survey is an opinion survey on how voters will vote at an election or of the preferences of voters respecting any candidate, or any issue with which an identifiable candidate is associated at an election.
The ELD has taken appropriate enforcement action against breaches of the ban on the publication of the results of an election survey on various online platforms.
ELD reminded the public not to create polls on social media platforms (e.g. Instagram, TikTok), online forums (e.g. Reddit), messaging platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram), or websites to view, post or repost the survey results.
Also, publishing the results of an exit poll is prohibited during the election poll.
An exit poll is defined as a statement on how voters have voted at the election, or a forecast on the election results, where the statement or forecast is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information from voters after they have voted.
Paid Online Election Advertising is only reserved for election candidates
ELD also reminded the public that the publishing of paid online election advertising (OEA) is solely reserved for candidates, election agents, and authorised persons.
If a person wants to publish paid OEA, he must receive written authorisation from a candidate or election agent from Nomination Day.
All paid OEA must be declared to the Returning Officer by the candidate or election agent.
All OEA, whether paid or unpaid, must display clearly the full names of all persons who played an active role in publishing it. This includes persons responsible for publishing the OEA, persons who approved the content of the OEA, and persons who directed that the OEA be published.
In addition for paid OEA, a message must be included to indicate that it has been sponsored or paid for, as well as the full names of the persons who paid for it.
These rules prevent foreign interference in the elections process, or bypassing of the election expense limits for candidates.
Unpaid online election advertising allowed for Singapore citizens
However, Singapore citizens are allowed to published unpaid online election advertising except during the Cooling-off Period.
The Cooling-off Period begins on Cooling-off Day (Thursday, Aug. 31), 12 am, and ends with the close of polling on Polling Day (Friday, Sept. 1), 8 pm.
Paid and unpaid election advertising is not permitted during the Cooling-Off Period.
But OEA that was already lawfully published before Cooling-off Period and remains unchanged after its publication, need not be taken down.
However, republishing existing OEA by sharing, re-sharing, or boosting existing OEA is prohibited on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day.
Foreigners and foreign entities banned from election activities
Foreigners and foreign entities cannot participate in any election activity.
This includes publishing or displaying any election advertising during the election period from Writ to Polling Day.
As reminded by the ELD, “The outcome of Singapore’s elections must be for Singaporeans alone to decide.”
Top photo by Alex Ortega via Google Maps