O.E.C. website down before election
The Office of the Electoral Commissioner (O.E.C.) website was down for a significant period of time over the long weekend, days out from next week's election.
Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio denied the access problem was the result of an overload that crashed the website and noted that all website content is also available on their various social media platforms.
Faimalo says all their media platforms are running "perfectly fine".
The website, which went down on Friday night and remained inaccessible for much of Saturday was again available by 11 pm on Saturday evening.
But instead of its typical format, it was apparently making use of a free website creation tool known as Wordpress, typically used to host personal blogs.
The Commissioner said the office's website was undergoing maintenance work ahead of the 9 April election before the O.E.C. anticipates a major surge in visitor numbers during election week.
"Maintenance works and upgrades to prepare for any significant increase in traffic on the website next week…should be back up running asap [as soon as possible]," Faimalo said in an email response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
"All contents on the website are also available on our social media platforms. All are running perfectly fine."
He also did not disclose when the website was temporarily shut down for the purposes of maintenance.
The O.E.C. are available on Facebook as the Office of the Electoral Commission - Samoa and on Twitter @ElectionSamoa.
On Saturday afternoon, the Office announced that a Facebook live stream has been scheduled for the day of General Elections, Friday 9 April, as well as daily live updates during the pre-polling days Monday 5 to Thursday 8 April.
The live stream will be a collaborative effort between the O.E.C. and the Samoa Alliance of Media Practitioners for Development, WTmedia - Samoa, communications expert Jordan Kwan and graphic design expert Thomas Sauao.
"The live stream will be coordinated by Vaasiliega Iupati Lagaaia, O.E.C. Public Relations Officer working closely with Wtmedia and partners," the public statement reads.
"This is an effort to ensure that our communities are informed and kept up to date with the outcome of the election.
"O.E.C. continues to pursue ways to ensure that our elections are transparent and work with partners to ensure that this happens."
Meanwhile, candidates have also been reminded by the Office that the campaign period officially ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday, 4 April, 2021.
On Saturday afternoon Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party billboards along the West Coast road at Afega began being taken down.