Stricter Rules to be Introduced for Use Of Banners, Posters During Singapore General Election: Here's All You Need to Know!

ELD sets stricter rules for General Election advertising ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT

Ahead of Singapore's General Election that must be held by November 2025, the Elections Department (ELD) announced new rules on Friday. As part of updates, political parties will have to declare the particulars of all banners, flags or posters bearing party symbols that were on display before the issuance of the writ of election.

In a statement on Friday, the ELD announced that the area on the ballot paper for voters to mark their choice has been enlarged. Now, parties must make the declaration within 12 hours of the issuance of the writ. For the uninitiated, the writ of election is the legal document that sets the election process in motion.

Updates to Come into Effect on June 14

ELD said that the updates followed feedback from last September's Presidential Election that some voters were unsure if they had properly positioned the X-stamp within the demarcated area.

The updates will come into effect on June 14 with revisions made to the Subsidiary Legislation under the Parliamentary Elections Act, which was updated in 2023.

According to reports, the new rules on banners and posters fall under regulations that govern traditional or non-online election advertising. The political party declarations regarding the banners, flags or posters will be made available online for public inspection.

During the campaigning period, which starts immediately after nomination proceedings end on Nomination Day and ends with the start of the eve of Polling Day, these banners, flags or posters of all parties can only be publicly displayed by authorised candidates, election agents or third parties. It also needs to be placed only in designated locations specified in the subsidiary legislation.

New Rules for Paid Election Advertising

During the election period, election advertising will also have to comply with published-by requirements to clearly display the full names of those who played a role in the advertising, and to use words such as "sponsored by" or "paid for by" in the case of paid election advertising.

The updated requirements specify that all paid election advertising will cover payments that are both direct and indirect, as well as monetary and non-monetary.

The Returning Officer will be able to direct individuals and social media firms to remove online election advertising that breaches election rules. This could also mean disabling access to such ads for users in Singapore, as well as stopping any further transmission of the materials here.

The Returning Officer is a public officer appointed by the prime minister to oversee the impartial and smooth conduct of elections.

ELD said, "Amplification of existing OEA (e.g. through boosting, reposting, sharing or resharing) will be subject to the same requirements as publishing new OEA," adding, "Amplification of existing OEA increases the reach of the content to more users and has the same effect as publishing fresh content."

Though most of the election requirements outlined on Friday are similar to those introduced for the 2023 Presidential Election. ELD said that these updates serve to enhance transparency and accountability.