Voters invited to download election app

Members of the public have been invited to download the Office of the Electoral Commission's (O.E.C.) new mobile application designed to improve the process of voter registration. 

The app, Election Samoa, was launched in 2018 and designed to improve the accessibility of electoral information. 

The O.E.C. is asking members of the public to provide feedback on the app's performance in the lead-up to the general election. 

The app is designed to minimise the amount of time members of the public spend completing registration papers by allowing them to pre-register online.

Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, said that he was expecting an increase in users in coming months. 

"We note from the data on the Play Store for Android Users, more than a 100 have downloaded the app," he said.

"We’re anticipating more people download the app in the next few months. 

"Mind you that the app is just another additional platform by O.E.C. for people to access information about elections [... in addition to the] O.E.C. website and Facebook page."

The application came at zero cost to the O.E.C. as it was created in-house by the Office's internal Information Technology department. 

Faimalomatumua said the Office is aiming to continuously improve the app to make it more user friendly.

"So in essence, the value of this investment first and foremost is the knowledge added on the capacity of our own local I.T. personnel," he said.

"Secondly this work by our I.T. team provides another option for our people to access electoral information in a more convenient way.

"We invite the public, namely those on Android phones to download our app and give us their feedback. 

"That’s the only way we can work on improving it."

For users of iPhones, O.E.C. is negotiating with overseas firms to develop an Apple-based version of the app. 

"While we have completed all the required coding required by Apple, launching it on the Apple Store requires certified Apple experts," he said. 

"We understand that there’s no firm in Samoa at the moment that can do that."

The Office has registered close to 5,000 new voters since registration opened three years ago after the last time the country went to the polls. 

“[The] total number of new voters registered since 2016 is 4834 and [the] total number of voters who have transferred their votes to other constituencies is 1021,” said Faimalomatumua.

“We are anticipating that number to double leading up to September next year when we close the electoral rolls for the 2021 General Election.”

A total of 1,295 new voters have been registered this year, according to the Electoral Commissioner. 

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