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    Election Silence in Poland: What Can’t You Do During It? Check!

    As the midnight hour struck, the electoral silence preceding the local government elections began. It will persist until the end of the voting on Sunday. Breaking it can lead to fines of up to 1 million złoty. What exactly can’t you do during this time? We outline below.

    The local government elections are scheduled for Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm. The electoral silence commenced 24 hours before the day of voting and will continue until its conclusion. Unless any of the precinct electoral commissions extend the voting, the electoral silence will end at 9 pm on Sunday.

    Voting may be extended due to extraordinary events such as floods, flooding of the polling station, construction or transportation disasters, or the need to reprint ballot papers. These are obstacles that hinder or paralyze the work of the precinct electoral commission and exclude or significantly limit voters’ access to the polling station.

    Any active electoral agitation violates the electoral silence, which means publicly encouraging or persuading to vote in a specific way. During the electoral silence, it is not allowed to convene gatherings, organize processions and demonstrations, deliver speeches, or distribute campaign materials. Posters put up before the commencement of the electoral silence do not need to be removed. However, vehicles covered with campaign posters are not allowed to circulate, though a covered vehicle may remain stationary. Agitation is also prohibited on the internet.

    Agitation Ban

    Agitation within the polling station is also prohibited, including the display of symbols, signs, and inscriptions associated with candidates and electoral committees.

    Violation of the electoral agitation ban carries fines. The highest fine, ranging from 500,000 złoty to 1 million złoty, is imposed for publishing polls during the electoral silence. This applies to both pre-election surveys regarding anticipated voter behavior and election results, as well as polls conducted on the day of voting.

    The National Electoral Commission (PKW) emphasizes that only law enforcement authorities and courts can determine whether something constitutes a violation of the electoral agitation ban, and a voter who believes that the electoral silence has been breached should report it directly to the police or prosecutor’s office.

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