28 August 2020, Savaii Samoa. It is voting day for the by-election of the electoral constituency of Gagaifomauga No.3.
Consisting of Aopo, Sasina and the villages of Fagaee and Letui, the parliamentary seat was declared vacant when its holder Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt last month submitted his resignation to Parliament.
Today, all voters must be in Savaii to cast their votes in accordance with Samoa’s new election rules.
A stream of Gagifomauga No3 voters residing in Upolu for work and school, have been seen in the past 24 hours catching the inter-island ferry across to the Big Island.
Accommodation providers and businesses in Savaii have welcomed the influx of visitors as a boost to economic activity this weekend.
All votes must be cast today in one of the following 4 booths, and 2 special mobile units, open from 8am to 3pm today.
1. Fagaee: Maota EFKS
2. Sasina: Maota Metotisi
3. Letui: Maota EFKS
4. Aopo: Maota EFKS
5. Mobile Motootua Hospital / Mapuifagalele
6. Mobile Tuasivi Hospital
Speaking to Samoa Global News from Savaii, Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio says they have been overwhelmed with the turn out this morning as booths open for voting.
“Our team is happy to be in Savaii for today’s by-election. There has been a lot of preparation put in to ensure everything runs smoothly and we wish all the voters of the Gagaifomauga No.3 constituency the best of luck for today;
“We encourage all voters to have their say through their ballot”.
The vision of the Office of the Electoral Commissioner (OEC) is “for the people of Samoa to embrace and participate in free, fair and inclusive elections”.
OEC have also set up a live feed where members of the public are able to keep track of voters turn-out in realtime.
The Electoral Commissioner says the online tracking systems have been designed by the OEC team of IT experts to further safeguard the election process.
“Results will be posted as they start to come in and be counted towards the afternoon”, said Faimalomatumua.
The public can follow the election process and acess results on the OEC facebook page and website.
As well publicised, there are two candidates running in todays by-election.
Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt is running under the banner of a newly registered political party, the Faatuatua i Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – known as FAST.
And Independent candidate Faaulusau Simi Laulua, son of well-known radio personality Mailata Laulua.