A stirring speech about how technology can improve Samoa’s election processes has won a Savaii Sisifo College student a top prize in Apia.
Seventeen-year-old student, Vaeni Fau, walked away with the prize of the National Voters Day Speech competition held at the Samoa Tourism Authority fale yesterday.
Speaking to the Weekend Observer, Vaeani said technology continued to change the world and it would certainly transform Samoa’s election processes for the better.
Internet technology, for instance, is helping keep and transfer massive amounts of data, protecting voters against fraud and wrongdoing.
“It makes sense we use those tools to help lead us to a more just and effective voting system as well,” Vaeani said.
“To us in Savai’i, it will save a lot of money to move from one place to another place for voting. The facts are clear on this, we have the technology and the brilliant technologists to help us do just that.
“So personally, by expanding automated voter registration through such technology, to extend early voting, and implementing portable Election Day registration, we can finally bring our voting system to the best by adopting latest technologies.”
The same thought was echoed by Daniel Koria of the Seventh Day Adventist College at Lalovaea.
“Samoa’s electoral system has faced a myriad of trial and error experiences since 1962, now we might just be on the verge of taking another major step, digitizing the system,” he said. “It is my belief that such development can do more good for our country than harm.”
He said there is a lot of evidence that electronic votes are physically easier to cast and more accurately counted than those sent in manually.
“For myself, a digitized electoral system will make it easier to identify and calculate electoral turnout,” he said.
Daniel continued that many voters leave the polls worried that someone behind in the line was spying over their shoulders and knows who they voted for.
“Who you vote for is completely your own business, and electronic voting helps ensure it stays that way.
“If you are using a voting machine for example, entering your details will be very quick and because nothing stays on the screen when you press the next button, no one will be able to record any of your information.
“Understanding overall electoral turnout is a crucial step towards increasing democratic participation and I am convinced that a digital system can make step further and faster.”
1st –Savaii Sisifo College
2nd – Paul VI College
3rd – Anoama’a College