An unregistered voter in the March General Election has been slapped with a fine of $150 by the District Court.
The sentence was delivered by District Court Judge, Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke, on Wednesday.
The defendant failed to register as a voter in the election with the offence punishable by 20 penalty units. She is unemployed and is financially supported by her husband who is a designer.
Leiataualesa ruled that the defendant shows no remorse for such offence.
He reminded that all citizens of Samoa should register to vote.
“In other countries people are fighting over this particular right to vote,” said Judge Leiataualesa.
“It is an obligation under the law to vote and to have a say in electing of the leader of a country. Given that the defendant is the first offender for such an offence and has no previous conviction the penalty will be a fine of $150tala.”
The woman was given 14 days to pay the register of the Court and failure to do so will result in 1 week imprisonment.
The first offender for unregistered voter is the first of the many unregistered voters scheduled for sentence in the coming weeks.
Asked for a comment, Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio said the requirement of the law for citizens who have turned 21 years old to register as a voter is not a new requirement.
“Our office is merely implementing this part of the law as part of its legal obligations to do so. We hope that out of this decision to implement the Act our people will come in on their own to register.”
The Electoral Commissioner added it is an ongoing project of the O.E.C. to focus on the roll.
“We believe that if the electoral roll is accurate come elections time chances of an accurate elections will be higher. Our office is also going around the country for reviewing of the roll and we would appreciate it if they (citizens) can make the most of that opportunity to register.”