OEC to Issue $100 Tala Fines to Over Two Thousand Registered Voters who Did Not Poll at By-election
Translated from FaaSamoa. Of the 4,781 registeted voters on the electoral roll of Vaimauga 3 – only 2,737 or 57.2 percent actually turned out to poll at the recent by-election.
Samoa’s Electoral Commissioner, Tuiafelolo Alexander John Stanley, told Samoa Global News action is now being taken to fine some 2,044 eligible voters who did not turn up to cast their votes at the recent by-election.
The number of those who did not poll may include those on overseas travel or currently on short term term employment, however, the number is substantial and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner woud be looking to further assess why so many citizens did not vote.
Tuiafelolo says the Office of the Electoral Commissioner (OEC) is now moving to impose the $100 tala fine mandated by Samoa’s compulsory voting laws.
Any registered voter who does not vote faces a $100 tala fine. Failing to pay the fine could result in legal action.
“We will be informing all voters to pay the fine,” said the Electoral Commissioner.
“If people do not adhere to the fine, the OEC would then move to the next step of the process,” said the Commissioner.
Samoa’s Electoral Act has banned the transporting of any voter to voting booths on election day. Prior to that, it was the norm in Samoa for voters to be picked up and taken to the polling stations by candidate committees.
There were 13 voting booths made available within the Vaimauga 3 Constituency. There was also a special booth located in Salelologa for voters in Savaii and a mobile booth which covered the Mapuifagalele Home for the elderly and the Motootua National Hospital.
In addition to that, pre-polling allowed for first responders, persons with disabilities and the elderly to cast their votes before the rush of polling day.
The official results of last Friday’s by-election saw the ruling FAST party candidate win by a comfortable 449 votes ahead of a solid challenge by HRPP.
Lautimuia Uelese Vaai – 1,531
Samau Solitamalii Timani – 1,082
Feagaimaalii Bruce Toomalatai – 106
Total Votes: 2,719 plus 18 votes declared void = 2,737.
The result was largely influenced by the village of Magiagi, where over 668 people had turned out to cast their votes.
Those who voted in Booths 1 and 2 located within Magiagi made up 24.4% of all votes cast.
FAST party candidate Lautimuia Uelese Vaai polled 93% of the votes for Booth 1 (Magiagi EFKS) and 91% of the votes for Booth 2 (Magiagi Metotosi).
The official result shows HRPP secured 1,531 or 55.9% of all votes cast while HRPP received 1,082 or 39.5% of the 2,737 votes cast. The Independent rep was only able to secure 106 votes.