Mandatory voting in Samoa
“By the 2021 General Election, it will be mandatory for every registered voter to vote”. The move by the Election Commission is strongly supported by the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. Our reporter, Ilia L Likou asked the public: Should there be compulsory voting in Samoa? Here are the responses.
Alosio Gasio, 55, Vailu’utai
Honestly, whatever changes the Government is trying to carry out, they should make sure that it’s for the good and benefit of the people. If compulsory voting lowers the cost of living, creates a lot of jobs for our people, then I’m alright with it, if not, then why waste our time. Hopefully it would not be a burden to the people of Samoa because in my own understanding, higher voter turnout won’t solve our problems because high turnout in itself is a problem. I mean we shouldn’t force citizens to vote. We should encourage citizens to vote well or not vote at all.
Salofi Tuiala, 31, Vaitele-Fou
That’s a good move by the Government. Compulsory voting increases the political education of the people and after all they will tend to pay more attention to politics if they know they have to vote. Hopefully by exercising this as well, the Government should pay more attention on the need of the whole country, they have so much on their shoulder (Government) to focus on, especially the welfare of the whole country because that’s what the H.R.P.P. stands for – people first.
Palama Tafua, 36, Si’usega
Compulsory voting means candidates have to address the needs of all the voters, and representatives of this country must keep in mind that if they’re going to step on this change, they have to represent the needs of their constituencies in Parliament and make a change, not just swinging on their chairs with their huge salaries and allowances for them to enjoy and leave behind those who vote for them. As for me, I strongly agree on compulsory voting.
Tanolua Taliaoa, 37, Afega
Citizens have the right to choose whether they want to vote. Compulsion is corrupt to my understanding, especially when voting is a right. Our people should have the option to refuse to participate in the system if they choose not to vote because of law enforcements. So to me, compulsory voting would not guarantee employment opportunities in Samoa and other issues that we need to work on for the betterment of Samoa.
Marina Filemu, 55, Siumu
Making voting mandatory would increase people’s political awareness on political issues. To my understanding, compulsory voting would also ensure the governing party has the majority of the country on its side, and better reflect the wishes of the people.