More than 2,000 votes transferred for 2021 General Election

More than two thousand voters have transferred their votes for the 2021 General Election.

They did this before the end of January when the Office of the Electoral Commissioner closed the transferring of votes.

In response to questions from the Samoa Observer, the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, said that there were 2314 votes transferred.

“[The] majority of voters were transferred under the residency eligibility,” said Faimalomatumua. 

“The process leading up to the 31 January deadline was rather smooth, that’s due mainly to the fact that most of the voters who applied to transfer their votes through residency were easily verified by the Census 2016.”

In terms of challenges faced by the Office of the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalo said his staff had a few cases where voters residential status were confirmed by village representatives (sui o nu’u) which they later found out to be inaccurate. 

“We’ve referred those matters to our legal division for further review before our next actions are undertaken,” he added. 

The changes in transfer of vote is unlike the previous Parliamentary term where voter could transfer their vote after five years. 

That period has now been extended to 10 years before a person is eligible to transfer.

Faimalo said going into the 2016 general election, around 30,000 voters had transferred their vote to different constituency mainly on the last two months of registration. 

“More than 80 per cent of that number have transferred two or three times in between elections,” he said. 

“The majority claimed change of residency yet [according to the] Census, their place of residence points to a different village/constituency.”

The Commissioner was also asked about a corrupt list where those being reportedly convicted by the Supreme Court on an election petition are listed on the Corrupt Practice list. 

Asked how many people on the list, he said “all those who were on the Corrupt List have served their five years on the list and have been removed”. 

“All of these voters were placed in that list following the electoral petitions of the 2011 General Elections. 

“At Section 139(3) of the Electoral Act 2019, they are to be removed from the list after five years.”

 He did not say how many people were on the list. 

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