Election pre-polling should be retained: villager

A Faleasiu villager has welcomed the pre-polling system used in this year’s general election, saying it benefits the elderly and those living with disabilities, and should be retained for future elections.

Faleasiu village resident Tamapa'a Fesola'i Tuigamala told the Samoa Observer that their elders were happy with the pre-polling which opened on Monday.

"We applaud the Office of the Electoral Commission, especially our Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio for this system,” he said on Wednesday.

“Our elders are very happy with it as they get to vote any time of the day as they are assured it is not going to be packed. 

“As you can see today, we are just relaxing outside here after we have voted and some of the people who have just arrived just go straight inside and cast their votes.”

Tamapa'a claimed that the voters are exercising their rights to vote independently under the pre-polling arrangement and there is no association with the candidates during that process.

He added that they will support whichever candidate won the Aana Alofi No.1 constituency seat after the April 9 General Election.

There are four candidates contesting the Aana Alofi No.1 seat: Independent candidate Fesolai Aleni Sofara Fesolai Logo of the Sovereign Independent Samoa party, Fesolai Apulu of the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, and Taueva Faafouina of the Human Rights Protection Party. 

And with the counting of pre-polling votes already underway, Tamapa'a said it is unpredictable trying to pick out a clear winner.

“At the moment we can't really get our hopes up with the numbers of voters that each candidate has because it changes every day," he said.

When the Samoa Observer visited a voting station in Faleasiu on Wednesday, more than 10 people had already voted with the process running smoothly.

Tamapa'a believes the Faleasiu community understood the pre-polling messages that the O.E.C. sent out using various social media and mainstream media platforms.

"So far, we have reached the third day, and there have been no issues that have happened. Everything is running smoothly and peacefully,” he added. 

“But we want to wish our four candidates the best of luck for the election. Whoever wins I guarantee our support for you."

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