The Office of the Electoral Commission celebrated National Voter’s Day yesterday.
A parade led by the Police band kick-started the celebration guided by the theme “To empower youth participation in elections.”
Hundreds of students from different colleges participated in this year’s celebration.
The rationale behind National Voter’s Day is to encourage stronger participation for a stronger democracy.
“Today’s event is expected to provide Samoa’s youth from the age 18 to 35 years old with a sense of empowerment, citizenship and pride in participating in elections,” said the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Faaolesa Katopau Ainu’ū.
“It is also aimed to provide an opportunity to vent or share their thoughts and to help them become part of Samoa’s political process.”
The Office of the Electoral Commission findings during the 2016 elections shows that a significant number of young people did not participate or vote during the elections.
“We hope to increase this margin by encouraging the youth of Samoa to participate more in this process.
“We also want to acknowledge that their right to vote is a basic human right in our democracy.
“We hope that the National Voter’s day initiative changes things for the better.”
The Minister acknowledged the assistance provided by the Australian government through the Leadership Programme for funding the event.
“I would also like to thank the management and staff of O.E.C. for making this initiative possible in the effort of building a sustainable electoral system.”
After the parade, students were took part in a Speech competition with the topic of: “If you were to run for candidacy from your respective constituency what would be your message to the community.”
The National Voter’s Day ended the “Democracy and Development in Samoa: the Role of Elections" national conference which started on Monday.
The four-day conference was opened by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.