Error corrected, Pauli wins race
Fa’asaleleaga No. 1 East has a new Member of Parliament, according to a corrected version of the preliminary results.
He is Pauli Ivan Williams. Contrary to the results announced on Saturday morning during the first unofficial count of the General Election votes, the Office of the Electoral Commissioner has since corrected it.
The results widely reported from Friday night’s count showed that Sili Epa Tuioti had won with 475 votes, four ahead of Pauli’s 471.
But according to the Acting Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, the correct count should have been 503 votes to Pauli with Sili getting 483, with the special votes to come.
Fa’asaleleaga No. 1 East was not the only constituency affected. The results have also changed for Faleata West.
The initial result announced showed that Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi had 857 votes, with Ale Vena, 853, Ulu Bismark Crawley, 836 and Panoa Moala Tavita with 441.
But the new preliminary results now show that Lealailepule has a commanding lead with 963 votes, followed by Ulu, 886, Ale, 853 votes while Moala has 308 votes.
“They were both oversights on our part,” Faimalo told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“For Faleata West, the Deputy Returning Officer who called in the results had the votes for two candidates mixed up.
“As we cannot open the ballot boxes once they are in, we had to check the official recording of the preliminary result at the booth and confirmed that the votes were actually mixed up.”
The O.E.C has since corrected the result on their website.
Faimalo said the mix up at Faasaleleaga No. 1 East was the result of a similar oversight.
“It was a similar oversight where the votes for some candidates were mixed up. Once we became aware of that mix up early Saturday morning, we then made the necessary changes in the presence of other media outlets that were still present during that time.
“At this point the final results of the elections are still being counted after we sorted out all the special votes that were casted by voters at booths allocated for special votes around the country.”
This means that, while the country awaits the final results, Pauli, is now the new Member of Parliament for Fa’asaleleaga No. 1.
Attempts to obtain comments from both Sili and Pauli were unsuccessful yesterday. Neither of the candidates was at the H.R.P.P hall when the Samoa Observer visited.
On the night of the counting, a similar incident was noted at Falelatai and Samatau district although that oversight was immediately corrected.
Yesterday, Faimalo said his Office has started the process of counting the special votes collected from around Upolu and Savai’i.
“A total of 6,765 special votes were casted on Friday,” Faimalo said.
“That's quite a high number which shows that a lot of voters utilised the special booths around the country rather than having to come all the way to town to cast their votes. That would've doubled the queues at the booths in town.”
The official count will take a week to complete.
The O.E.C is looking at having the officials results by Monday, in time for the first Parliament session scheduled for next Tuesday, 15 March 2016.
Once the official results are confirmed, they will then be passed on to the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, to endorse and make public.