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Airing party political speeches on Cooling-Off Day a contradiction

The Parliamentary Elections Act allows party political broadcasts on television and radio on Cooling-Off Day, the eve of Polling Day.

The second round of party political speeches was broadcast on July 9, 2020, a day before the General Election.

The second round of party political speeches was broadcast on July 9, 2020, a day before the General Election.

Francis Cheng Choon Fei

The Parliamentary Elections Act allows party political broadcasts on television and radio on Cooling-Off Day, the eve of Polling Day.  

Parliament should consider amending the Act to disallow such broadcasts because they are contradictory.

Rightfully, there should not be electioneering during Cooling-Off Day. That is unambiguous. It should be a serene day without distractions so as to allow voters time to think rationally and reflect on issues raised during the election campaign.

Are voters not supposed to rest and reflect without disturbances from party political speeches?

These broadcasts should not be allowed.

The Elections Department (ELD) should set an example. By allowing such broadcasts on Cooling-Off Day, ELD has sent confusing signals to voters.  

Broadcasting is an effective tool to influence the mood of voters in the final hours before voting starts.

If we are not careful, it could lead to a psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance, where a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours can sway voters at the last minute. Surely, these are not the kinds of democratic cooling-off measures that voters hope for.

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Related topics

political broadcast Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 ELD

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