Supporters of Candidates Warned to Stay Clear of Voting Booths

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An elderly pre-polling at Tuanaimato. Photo: Maina Vai, SGN.

Committee members and supporters of candidates are asked to stay away from voting booths and allow the public to cast their votes freely and without undue pressure or influence from their presence.

Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio told the media in a live interview aired by Talamua that supporters of candidates are still lingering around some voting booths, distracting voters.

“I just want to remind all voters and especially supporters of all candidates running.. please, you are not allowed to roam around near any of the polling booths while voters are lining up at the different booths to vote,” pleaded the Electoral Commissioner.

An elderly couple who cast their vote at Lalovaea on Day 2 said one of the best things about their voting experience this election was to not have to put up with candidate committee members around the voting booth area.

Mr and Mrs Chan Foung happy to be free of candidate committee members this year. Photo: Jaleen Tupai, SGN.

“It is so peaceful here today..and there’s noone here to pressure or coerce us into voting for their candidate”.

“Leai ma nisi o ii e faalavelave mai, pe tilotilo mai e taumafai e tosina atu taita, ua na o oe lava ia ma lau palota”.

The same sentiment was echoed by the Moataa Village Representative, Savae Ali Wilson, on Day 1.

“It is important for Samoa to conduct a peaceful election and ensure voters are not coerced or influenced in any way,” he told Samoa Global News.

“There should be no signage, or any committee members, or anyone else trying to influence the voters,” he said in an interview on Monday.

Sui o le Nuu for Moataa, Savae Ali Wilson. Photo: Taielua Tuasivi, SGN.

Savae said they were making sure no groups were congregated near the polling booths, trying to pressure voters.

“Even the body language of those who may be sitting idly nearby could send signals to pressure voters,.. said the Moataa Village Rep.

Overall Faimalomatumua thanked the public for their support of the work being carried out by the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.

He highlighted the voluntary nature of the work through the 2,000 plus helpers from within the community including youth, who have come on board to assist the OEC with the election process.

An elderly grandmother places her vote into the ballot boxes. Photo: Maina Vai, SGN.

Faimalomatumua said many hours were spent on training programs for volunteers, and they are ironing out some of the logistical challenges that became evident earlier on in the process.

“Mai le itu lava ia o le tapenaga o le palota, manatua foi o le mamalu o le atunuu lea ua tuu mai lo latou tauau matou te galulue.. Ia e tele foi se taimi o le Ofisa sa faia ai aoaoga ma tulaga faapena., e pei o nai issues muamua na o mea tau logistics.”

OECs temporary workers include public servants, and youth over 21 years of age who wanted to experience the process and help out with the 2021 general election.