Day of electoral silence begins on the night of Saturday, July 20, before the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine. On this day, any election campaign is prohibited by law, so that voters can make their choice without any influence.
The day of electoral silence is the day when campaigning is prohibited by law. In Ukraine, campaigning ends at 24:00 on the last Friday before the election day (in 2019, it is March 29). Campaigning before the repeat voting (second round of elections) starts from the day following the appointment of the repeat voting and ends at 24:00 of the last Friday before the day of repeat voting (April 19).
The day of silence does not forbid spreading information about the ongoing election, calls to participate in it, clarification of laws and voting procedures.
The task of the day of silence is to ensure that each voter makes an independent choice, to protect against the possible accidental influence of any materials, psychological pressure. For the same purpose, a ban is also introduced on publishing the results of public opinion polls that may affect the voters.
In order to understand what is ultimately prohibited on a day of silence, it is important to understand what election campaign is.
Campaigning in Ukraine
The Law on “Election of Members of Parliament of Ukraine” defines the election campaign as conducting any activity aimed at encouraging voters to vote for or not to vote for a certain candidate running for a certain parliamentary candidate or a party, which are electoral subjects.
The campaigning can be conducted in such ways:
- meetings with voters;
- holding rallies, marches, demonstrations, pickets;
- holding public debates, discussions, round tables, press-conferences;
- political advertising in print and audiovisual (electronic) media: speeches, interviews, essays, video films, audio and video clips;
- distribution of election cards, posters and other printed campaign materials or printed publications;
- distribution of printed outdoor advertising materials;
- holding concerts, performances, sports competitions, demonstration of films and TV shows or other public events with the support of the party - subject of the electoral process or parliamentary candidate, as well as the publication of information about such support;
- public calls to vote or not to vote for a party or parliamentary candidate, or public evaluation of the activity of a party or parliamentary candidate;
- installation of information tents.
Printed materials of the election campaign must contain information about the institution that printed them, circulation and information about the persons responsible for the release and customer of the materials.
It is forbidden:
1) to distribute materials containing calls for elimination of Ukraine’s independence, forceful change in the constitutional order, violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, undermining its security, unlawful seizure of state power, propaganda of war, violence and inciting ethnic, racial, religious hatred, encroachment on rights and human freedoms, public health;
2) to distribute knowingly false information about the candidate;
3) to conduct campaigning accompanied by giving money to voters propose goods, services, works, securities, loans, lotteries free of charge or on preferential terms.
4) visiting military units, penitentiary facilities and detention centers by the parliamentary candidates or their trustees;
5) placing campaign materials or political advertisement on the buildings and in premises of state bodies, local government and state or public enterprises;
6) placing political advertisement in the metro stations, bus stops or ralway stations or those of the ports and airports.
Violations and liability
Citizens campaigning in violation of the law could be fined for $19-30 and officials could pay a fine from $30-50.