Door-to-door voter registration breaks new ground
More than 2,000 new voters have registered from the comfort of their homes for the 2021 General Election, thanks to an ongoing door-to-door registration programme. What's more, people who never had the opportunity to register before, including elderly members of the community, have now been granted the opportunity.
This was confirmed by the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
According to Faimalomatumua, the significance of conducting a door-to-door registration is that it addresses the State of Emergency (S.O.E.) orders of social distancing.
“It prevents people from congregating at our Office all at once,” he said.
They usually stage these registrations at pastors' residence but would violate S.O.E. orders when it comes to social distancing.
“But perhaps most importantly, addressing the issue of candidates/committees transporting voters to register which is an offence under the Electoral Act 2019," said Faimalo.
“For candidates and their committees, please do not transport voters for registration. We are coming to the voters’ homes.
“This is to help you avoid any unnecessary spending and more importantly from breaking the law. These are our elections, let’s keep it clean.”
The Electoral Commissioner also stated that so far, they have completed coverage of Falealili 2, Lotofaga, and are currently now at Lepa.
He added that among the highlights for the Electoral Office officials are signing up elderly voters, the eldest being 90-years-old, registering the Carmelite Sisters at Vailima and giving a 32-year-old male from Satitoa, Ben Leia, the chance to vote,
The story of Mr. Leia is known by many who had a very promising rugby career ahead of him in 2010, having been selected to represent the emerging Manu Samoa youth team during a tour in New Zealand. However, he suffered a horrific neck fracture during training which has left him a life-long tetraplegic.
Faimalomatumua acknowledged the support from the alii ma faipule [village councils] of villages that we’ve covered already especially the Sui o Nuu and Sui o Tama’ita’i [male and female village representative] and of course our community for the support.
“Urging families in Lepa, Aleipata Itupa i Luga and Itupa i Lalo to please put up white flags in front of your homes so that we can come to your homes and register you.
“Urging Voters to please, take responsibility upon yourselves and turn up to register.
“We are making the process easier by coming into your homes. Just be at your home and wait for us please.”
He also added that the door to door registration will target its last week on September in Savaii.
“For the upcoming by election, we humbly ask all the voters of Gagaifomauga Nu.3 who are eligible to pre-poll to please up lift the forms from our office and apply to avoid all the hassle of having to stand in long queues to vote.
“Those eligible are as follows: voters who are 65 years old and over; a carer for them; a voter with a disability; a voter who works in an essential service; a voter who travels from the 24th of August 2020.
“Please note that the period to apply to pre-poll closes on the 14th of August.”