These Simple Acts Can Get You Arrested on Election Day
According to someone who spoke Latin a very long time ago, “ignorantia legis neminem excusat,” which means, ignorance of the law excuses no one—lest we get arrested. To avoid this, we combed through some of the COMELEC’s voluminous rules and regulations regarding the elections and found several things we think you ought to know.
The following are some seemingly innocent acts that could get you arrested if you do them on Election Day.
Giving or accepting free food
On election day, if someone approaches you at or near the polling precincts and offers you free food, do not accept, no matter how tempting that ice cream or that bottle of cold soda looks on a hot day.
In the eyes of election watchdogs and the COMELEC, these are not mere food or drink, but possible campaign paraphernalia. Anything of value given away for free on election day is suspicious.
If you’re feeling a bit charitable on election day and start offering free refreshments to the people sweltering in line waiting to cast their votes, you have been warned.
It’s not just selling, buying, or furnishing liquor that is prohibited on Election Day. Drinking intoxicating liquor is also illegal on these days.
The alcoholic beverage ban actually starts on the eve of the election and lasts through election day. Many people are expected to party over the long weekend and stock up on booze before the ban, but be warned: Cops and town peacekeeping officers are likely to rove around village streets looking for partygoers who've had a tipple or two.
Having campaign stickers on your car
Remove them. The COMELEC prohibits any campaigning on the eve of election and on election day itself. Campaign stickers, tarps, fliers, balloons, and other campaign paraphernalia you may have attached to your vehicle must be taken off, especially if you are driving your car to the polling station. Not only will your car probably be impounded, you will also be arrested.
Wearing a campaign shirt at the polling stations
In 2010, a woman was arrested for wearing a campaign T-shirt at the polling station on election day. She was part of a local candidate’s poll watchers. If you are very eager to support certain candidates on election day, just vote for them but don’t bring or wear any of their merchandise as these can get you arrested.
Also, on election day, if someone hands you fliers, small pieces of paper containing sample ballots, or related campaign materials, just toss them in the rubbish bin for your own good.
Avoid taking selfies while inside the polling station. Cameras are strictly prohibited in the voting precincts as they are used for buying and selling votes—a person needs to take a picture of his or her ballot to prove that he or she voted for certain candidates. You could be mistaken for a person selling your vote if you take selfies while casting your vote.
Aside from taking selfies at the polling precinct, do not take pictures of your accomplished ballot, nor take selfies with it. This can cost you jail time of up to 6 years.