Interior minster wants to lift polling station party materials law

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).
Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The interior ministry proposes altering electoral law in Estonia to remove the restriction on party-related materials being displayed inside buildings which host polling stations, confining the ban only to the polling station itself.

"The regulation prohibiting election campaigning in premises hosting polling stations dates back to when such stations were located in school buildings, town halls etc. where voters only had to pass through one or two rooms," interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) said, stating this was the ministry's overall stance, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

"Nowadays there are plenty of polling stations in larger shopping centres which have plenty of space and plenty of entrances," he added.

Shopping centers are commonly used during the advance voting period when people may vote on paper, away from their "home" polling station.

This has caused some confusion as to how the law would be fully implemented within such a location, he said.

The ministry says it is thus in accord with the justice ministry, which also wants to repeal the current ban.

"We thus propose to change the ban on electoral campaigning as it stands under curernt law, to confine it to the polling station itself.," the Ministry of the Interior said.

The related acts are the European Parliament Election Act, the Local Government Council Election Act, the Riigikogu Election Act and the Penal Code Amendment Act.

Estonian electoral law also forbids outdoor electoral advertising around six weeks before polling day.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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