24 August 2020, Apia Samoa. A total of 16 registered voters for the electoral constituency of Gagaifomauga No.3 took advantage of the pre-polling option as allowed under Samoa’s amended election laws.
The by-election has been set for this Friday 28th August 2020, however, Electoral Commissioner Faimalo Mathew Lemisio confirmed that the their office received 16 applications for pre-polling, whereby voters were given the chance to cast their votes before 12 noon today.
Superintendent of Police Misa Tauveve Sefo Pati and his team monitored the sealed pre-polling box throughout the morning until noon.
In an earlier interview with Samoa Global News the Electoral Commissioner had confirmed that not everyone is eligible for pre-polling.
“Only our elderly, those in essential services, those travelling on the week prior to election day and persons with disabilities can apply to pre-vote”.
According to the Office of the Electoral Commissioner only one of the 16 people who had applied to pre-poll was unable to cast their vote at the OEC’s Apia Office this morning, due to an unexpected illness. The rest were able to take advantage of pre-polling.
“That person wrote a letter to the Commissioner, to explain her situation..”
The by-election for Gagaifomauga No.3 is to fill a vacancy that arose when former Minister of Agriculture and former Speaker of Parliament Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt resigned from Parliament on the 30th of June this year.
Laauli will be flying the banner of a newly registered political party, the Faatuatua i Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – known as FAST.
Laauli is contested by Faaulusau Simi Laulua, son of well-known radio personality Mailata Laulua. Representing the village of Aopo, this is Faaulusau’s second attempt to win the trust of his constituency. He had run against Laauli in the 2011 general elections, winning 260 votes to Laauli’s 627.
Samoa’s Electoral Commissioner told Samoa Global News back in May that the various amendments to Samoa’s Electoral Act will require a change of mindset by both voters and candidates.
Election Committees are limited to assist in so far as approved campaign methods such as helping to distribute pamphlets, and raise awareness of the development issues the candidate stands for.
Committees are prohibited from transporting voters to vote; and all voting is to be cast within the Gagaifomauga district; meaning all registered voters residing in Upolu would need to make the trip across to the Big Island of Savaii this Friday.