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Election Office to launch new computer voter ID system

fili@samoanews.com

The Election Office (EO) will launch its new computerized Voter Registration Identification Card System project in the next few days, according to EO officials.

Chief Election Officer Soliai Tuipine first revealed this project in late September during a House committee hearing, saying his office is preparing for the 2012 general election and among the developments is the new voter identification card, which will eliminate the current laminated one to be replaced with a newer voter ID - similar to the new driver's license issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles.

In the EO's 4th quarter FY2011 performance report, Soliai said the Voter ID project is transitioning into a new database with an ACCESS platform and the new system had been undergoing "functionality testing and staff training" since late September with the completion target date of November 2011.

The same report also says the agency continues its "Outreach and Future Voter Project" which targets segments of the local population, students and the "special needs voter population" for education and information.

The project has EO officials visiting various elementary schools in the territory "to implant early in the minds of future voters of American Samoa, the beauty of democracy, the reasons for conducting elections and the roles of the Election Office."

"The take home message - for students - is that once you are 18 years of age, you are required to exercise your right to vote," the report says. "It is important that you register to vote and to participate in the election process."

Election staff continues to visit the Territorial Administration on Aging, the Hope House - home of the elderly and the disabled and the Matafao Special Education Center which is part of this outreach program.

Meanwhile, Soliai encourages the more than 1,000 voters whose names were purged from the election roll - due to failure to vote in the last two general elections - to re-register, to ensure their voice is counted in the 2012 general election.

"With the next general election less than a year away, we continue to encourage everyone to register to vote especially that it's a bigger election where voters will cast ballots for the governor and lieutenant governor," said Soliai.

Next year's other elections are for the 20 House seats and the Congressional delegate.

Also expected to be on the ballot is a Fono approved measure, seeking to amend the local constitution by removing the veto override authority of the Interior Secretary and have that authority vested with the Legislature.



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