O.E.C re-registration portal launched

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 15 May 2024, 10:00PM

In a significant stride towards modernising the electoral process, the Office of the Electoral Commission (O.E.C.) has officially launched its online registration portal. 

This development marks a pivotal moment in Samoa's electoral history, aiming to enhance accessibility and efficiency for voters across the nation and abroad.

Originally slated to go live on 6 May 024, the Electronic Information System (E.I.S.) faced a postponement to ensure rigorous testing and optimisation. 

This strategic delay was crucial to guarantee a seamless user experience upon its release. 

The portal eventually opened on a Wednesday, ready to serve the public with its new digital capabilities.

The online registration portal offers a groundbreaking convenience, allowing eligible voters to register from anywhere in the world. 

This innovation particularly benefits those who are unable to visit the O.E.C.'s main office in person. 

To complete the registration process online, voters must possess the necessary documents to prove their citizenship and either their residency or their status as a matai of the village.

While the online platform provides unmatched convenience, it is important to note that finalising the registration requires an in-person visit to the O.E.C. office. 

This visit is necessary to capture biometric data and photographs, ensuring the integrity and security of the voter registry.

For those opting for in-person registration, community booths offer comprehensive support. These booths, set up across various villages, are staffed with O.E.C. team members who assist in the registration process. 

They are also equipped with resources from the Ministry of Justice and Court Administration (M.J.C.A.), including the matai registration list, to facilitate a smooth registration experience.

The re-registration initiative stems from the passage of two amendments to the Electoral Amendment 2024, enacted under a certificate of urgency. 

These amendments highlight the necessity of updating the voter registry.

The re-registration process aims to include new voters who have become eligible in the intervening years and those who will turn eligible by the next election in 2026.

A critical component of the updated registration process is the collection of biometric data, including fingerprints and photographs. This measure is designed to bolster the accuracy and security of the voter database in preparation for the 2026 general election. 

Although online registration allows for initial data entry from any location, the biometric data collection must occur physically within Samoa.

Demonstrating a proactive approach, the O.E.C. team has been conducting mass registration drives across various villages. 

These efforts ensure that even the most remote communities are included in the electoral process. By bringing registration services directly to the people, the O.E.C. is making significant strides toward comprehensive voter inclusion.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 15 May 2024, 10:00PM
Samoa Observer

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