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Youth registration brings voter rolls close to 18,000

fili@samoanews.com

Although the 2012 general voter registration roll didn’t reach the 18,000 mark, Chief Election Officer, Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono is still thankful for the fact that there were alot of youthful new voters 18 years of age, who were able to register for the first time.

At the close of voter registration on Tuesday, Oct. 9, there were 17,774 names on the voter roll for the general election and there were many who registered last Saturday as well as Monday and Tuesday this week, said Soliai.

(At the close of voter registration in the 2010 election, the total voter count was 16,144 while it was 16,779 in 2008, according to Samoa News archives.)

“The Election Office was very, very busy with registration and even though we didn’t reach 18,000 registered voters, I am still very pleased and happy with the number we have now,” said Soliai yesterday in a phone interview, adding that there are "a lot of new young voters — those 18 years of age. Many of them were brought in by campaign committees so that these young voters are able to vote this year.”

Soliai said he believes that there are still others who are eligible to vote but have not registered for one reason or another. “One reason I could think of is that these individuals are not paying much attention this time, but hopefully in the next election they will register to vote.”

And for all the registered voters, “please remember to cast your ballot” in the general election, he said.

In accordance with local election law, each candidate for the local House of Representatives race are entitled to one copy of the voter’s roll in his or her district and the copy shall be made available by the Chief Election Officer no later than 24 hours after the close of voter registration.

Additionally, all candidates for the gubernatorial and delegate races are entitled to a list of qualified electors in the territory within ten days of close of registration.

The list for candidates in the local House race became available on Wednesday and Soliai said the lists for candidates in the gubernatorial and delegate races will be available today for pick up.

Meanwhile, Soliai reminds all overseas absentee registered voters that the close of business on Oct. 22 is the last day to request an absentee ballot, which will then be sent out. “Again, please don’t wait until the last minute, and all registration forms are posted on our website for convenience,” he said.

The Election Office website: www.americansamoaelectionoffice.org

And for those who reside on island, but who will be off-island on election day, there is the reminder that local absentee voting is ongoing for these individuals and those ballots are cast at the Election Office, which is also open half day Saturday.



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