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Over 7,000 cast votes as pre-polling closes

A total of 7,414 people cast their votes in four-days of pre-polling ahead of Friday’s General Election, according to Office of Electoral Commision data.

The remaining 1,140 voters who qualified for pre-polling offered by the O.E.C. but didn’t vote are still able to do so on the last day of the general election on Friday. 

From the preliminary results the Human Rights Protection Party is still in the lead in 25 constituencies, ahead of rival Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party which currently dominates 20 constituencies.

While the former opposition party Tautua Samoa maintains its lead in the Vaimauga No. 2 constituency, though candidates representing the F.A.S.T. and H.R.P.P. run equal first in the Vaisigano No.1 seat.

In addition, an independent candidate continues to lead the Gagaemauga no1 constituency.

On Friday 116,181 people will go to the polls excluding those that have already pre-polled as well as voters from the three uncontested seats (which translates to 5,253 voters). 

There are more than 200 polling booths across Upolu and an additional 200-plus in Savai’i with 2,300 officials deployed to oversee the electoral program.

Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio said his office is well equipped and prepared for the main polling day. 

He said minor issues that occurred during the four days of pre-polling have helped to improve their work for Friday.

Faimalo also appealed to persons who are influencing voters to refrain from doing so and to let the people exercise their democratic rights freely without any interference.

Commenting on reports of a policeman allegedly influencing a voter at a polling booth, he said the policeman denied the report but has been removed and will not be stationed at any of the booths on Friday in order to uphold the integrity of the process.

In relation to pre-polling votes that opened early in the week, a total of 2,833 people cast their votes on Monday, followed by 2,192 on Tuesday and 1,431 on Wednesday which culminated with 958 on Thursday night.

However, a duplicate discovered in a pre-polling application led to the number of those approved to do pre-poll drop from 8,576 to 8,554.

The O.E.C. said the change in the figures was due to some applications registering under different names and getting duplicated with other applications. 

This is the first time for Samoa to use pre-polling in a general election which enabled senior citizens aged 65 and above, people living with disability, essential workers and those traveling on election to vote in advance. 

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