Pre-Polling Receipts are NOT Ballot Papers

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The pre-polling receipt circulating on Social Media in recent days by a Facebook page, ‘O LE MEA MONI’ is a receipt confirming that the voter is eligible and authorised to cast his or her ballot during the pre-polling period of the Samoa general elections, which spans from April 5th to the 8th.

And to clear up misinformation and confusion, the Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio has confirmed that no pre-polling registered voter has cast their vote.

Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio dismisses unsubstantiated claims and false information that the pre-polling receipts issued to all those who qualify and have registered, is proof that pre-poll voters have cast their ballots.

“The pre-polling receipt posted on social media is not a ballot paper. Anyone who applied for pre polling has been issued with a receipt, to certify that their request to vote early (between 5-8 April) has been approved. Those receipts are to be presented to allow those eligible, to pre-poll between April 5th and 8th when the formal process commences,” said the Commissioner.

The Electoral Act clarifies those entitled to apply for pre polling as; persons with disabilities, seniors 65 years old and above, essential workers during Election Day and people who can produce proof that they would be travelling outside of Samoa on Election Day. Those travelling however, must still be on-island to cast their votes from 5th April.

Faimalomatumua added that it is impossible for anyone to have already voted as claimed by false reports on social media, since the ballot papers have not been printed yet, and Friday 26th March was the last day set by law for candidate’s to still be able to withdraw from the ballots.

“The ballot papers have not been printed yet as we have just closed withdrawals for all the candidates. If we had printed earlier, there could be a chance for a candidate to withdraw but their name will still be on the ballot paper.”

“Also, if you take a look at the pre polling receipts that was posted, it does not have any candidates name or political party registered on it.”

He is urging those responsible for the misleading social media posts to try and understand the process and the Electoral Law prior to jumping into wild and unsubstantiated conclusions.

The 2021 General Elections pre-polling has been subjected to social media scorns in recent weeks with conspiracy theories alleging malpractice by the Electoral Commission Office to fix the General Election outcome. This is vehemently denied by the Electoral Commissioner whose office has been advocating for free, fair and inclusive elections over the past 4 years and more comprehensively in the lead-up to the general elections.