Wednesday 22 February 2023, Apia Samoa. Today is pre-polling day for the Vaimauga 3 Constituency and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner has confirmed that 170 voters registered for the opportunity to cast their votes early.
In an informative short video produced by WT Media, Assistant Electoral Commissioner for the Electoral Operations and Returning Division, Fuimaono Uili Sio confirmed there would be three venues for pre-polling.
EFKS or Congregational Christian Church parishes in Faatoia, Tanugamanono and Vailima have been set up for pre-polling from 9am to 4pm today.
Pre-polling in Samoa’s election process includes the elderly 65+ years and their caregivers, persons with disabilities, as well as first responders such as police and healthcare workers.
To avoid confusion and disappointment, pre-polling is available ONLY to the 170 voters who had pre-registered and applied to pre-poll. Elderly would have also had to pre-register to pre-poll, and let OEC know they are eligible, and wish to take up the opportunity for the early vote.
Assistant Electoral Commissioner Mulitalo Fetogi Vaai said if eligible pre-polling voters who did not register can always cast their votes on the main polling day this Friday 24 February.
For voters in Savaii, a Special Booth will be set up at the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development office in Salelologa. Fuimaono says there is also a Mobile Booth where the Office of the Electoral Commission team will visit the Mapuifagalele Home of the Elderly as well as Motootua National Hospital.
Fuimaono does remind pre-polling voters that if they do miss today, there is still the opportunity to vote on the main polling day this Friday 24 February.
There shall be 13 voting booths this Friday set up around the Constituency for the convenience of voters. Voters should note that voting on Friday will open from 8am to 3pm.
The three candidates are Lautimuia Uelese Vaai of the FAST party, Samau Solitama’alii Timani Samau of HRPP and Independent candidate Feagaimaalii Bruce Toomalatai.
Samoa’s Legislative Assembly comprises 53 members – 51 Constituency seats plus two seats for women to ensure 10% representation.
The ruling FAST party currently holds 31 seats while the opposition HRPP party hold 18. Three HRPP members deflected and have become Independent MPs awaiting a Court decision if they need to return to the polls.
Changes to Samoa’s Constitution requires a two thirds majority of Parliament. That’s 35.3% given the current sitting of 53 members.