The Programme Coordinator for the Samoa National Youth Council (S.N.Y.C) Incorporated, Taimalelagi Kaisarina Salesa, is urging the youth of Samoa, those eligible to vote, to exercise their democratic rights and vote in the General Elections tomorrow.
The elections in Samoa occur once in every five years, and in every five years a new generation of eligible voters are able to engage formally in the elections process for the first time. Approximately 20 per cent (39,598 people) of Samoa’s population are youth aged between 21 – 30 representing a powerful political force for all young people in Samoa.
“We know that this process can sometimes appear scary, boring, and sometimes people are unsure of who to vote for and how to vote, but we encourage our youth to make use of this great opportunity to ensure their voices are heard,” Taimalelagi says.
“We also know that sometimes our young voters feel like their votes do not count, but S.N.Y.C urges young people to change this mind-set. Your vote matters more than you realise.”
There are many issues that affect youth in Samoa, such as health, unemployment and underemployment, environmental concerns, access to quality education/higher education and finance, discrimination, and poverty.
“We have an opportunity as young people to decide who gets in, who best represents us all, and to vote for someone who we really believe in will work to achieve our goals and aspirations for youth in Samoa.”
Taimalelagi further highlights that “at the S.N.Y.C we are always talking about how we can enhance political and civic engagement of our youth in Samoan Society. We have members that are doing some fantastic work around engaging in community and social development and support. Voting in elections is a part of that process.”
You have a critical opportunity to shape the social agenda, help shape economic and foreign policy, and environmental policy all through the power of your vote.