Election candidates register from abroad
The international border restriction has not disadvantaged three General Election candidates, who stranded overseas, from securing their places to run for Parliament next April.
The candidates include Pau Dr. Roy Ausage for Falelatai and Samatau, the former Chief Justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu for Vaimauga 2 and Anoama’a 2 candidate, To'omata Norah Leota.
In response to queries from the Samoa Observer, Pa'u confirmed that he had submitted his nomination registration from overseas due to border restrictions.
The Acting Director of the Department of the Youth and Women Affairs in American Samoa said he managed to carry out his nomination by speaking directly to the pulenu'u and the matai of his village.
“My uncle also acted on my behalf to ensure that the pulenu'u and the village matais were informed of the registration process and the need to certify the documents,” he said.
A new amendment was recently passed by Parliament in September to allow candidates stranded overseas to submit their nominations from abroad.
The Electoral Act (2) 2020 section 46 A, provides for the nomination process to be available to a Samoan resident who traveled abroad and could not travel back due to covid-19 travel restriction.
The process requires the person to nominate a person in writing to execute and submit the nomination papers to the Commissioner on his or her behalf if at the time of nomination they are outside of Samoa.
“This new feature of the electoral process is available to ensure that people are not unfairly excluded from the election process,” the Electoral Amendment Bill no2 2020 states.
“This section applies only for the purposes of the general elections 2021 and will expire on the day after the official declaration of results of the general elections made pursuant to section 84.”
Former Chief Justice Patu left the country two months ago for New Zealand before the nomination was opened in October.
To'omata Norah, who is a candidate for Fa'atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi, was introduced by the party last week claiming she is currently stranded overseas.
Pa'u was asked if his absence from the election will make a difference for him by April next year should the border remains close.
In response he said it will and if the borders remain close on election day, “we will request for approval of a chartered flight or a vessel from American Samoa to Samoa…”
He added this is so that “all the voters of our district stuck in American Samoa” should be in Samoa in order to exercise their right to vote in election.