Pre-polling on track: election chief

Electoral officials are trying to seek out eligible voters who qualify to cast pre-poll ballots before early voting starts next month. 

But the Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio says his officers are coping with the challenge.

Faimalo said this when he responded to emailed questions sent by the Samoa Observer that asked his office for an update on the pre-polling form, after the O.E.C. replaced the form to address concerns of alleged tampering by campaign committee members.

He said there is a difference between the cancelled form and the new one that his officers are now using to register eligible voters, who meet the criteria and want to vote in advance of the April 9 election.

Asked what is the difference between the cancelled form and its replacement, he said: “Colour. [The original] form was white which was cancelled. 

"[The] new one is now blue [but has the same] content and purpose.”

Faimalo said the process of taking the form out to register those who met the criteria is progressing well.

“So far so good. Have to acknowledge our elderlies who have welcomed the opportunity to cast their voters earlier before polling day. That will prevent them from standing in long queues on election day," he said. 

The election chief then appealed to the public to make their homes identifiable to his officers, if they had a parent who is 65-years-old and above or has a disability.

“Please hang out a yellow cloth in front of your house if you have a parent who’s 65 years and above or a person living with disabilities. 

“And call our toll free number 800 VOTE (800 8683).”

His appeal to the public coincided with the visit of two O.E.C. staff to the Samoa Observer on Thursday to register staff – who as media workers are classified essential workers – using the commission’s new pre-polling form.

O.E.C. officials also have a fingerprint scanner on hand as part of the registration process to guard against those seeking to game the system with phoney registrations. 

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