ONE VOTE or “BLOCK VOTE”
Dear High Chief Soliai,
Subject: The One Vote or Block Vote sed by certain voters of District 1, (Ta'u, Fitiuta and Faleasao), District 12 (Nu’uuli, Fagasa, Matu’u and Faganeanea) & District 15 (Tafuna, Mesepa, Faleniu, Mapusagafou, Pava’ia’i, ‘Ili’ili and Vaitogi).
This letter is in regards to the “Block Vote” that has been repeatedly become an issue in previous elections. I again request your assistance to please revisit, clarify, and find an unbiased solution for the above subject matter.
After I researched the matter again with your office this week, it was confirmed that the instructions on the “Vote Form” specifically ask a voter to choose 2 Representatives. This set of instructions should be followed by all voters; I strongly believe that your office needs to inform voters to follow the printed instruction otherwise; the 1 Vote or Block Vote is illegal and should not be counted, period.
If your office allows the vote for 1 representative to be counted like you did on many past elections, your office is not following legal and proper procedures under the law by exercising integrity during the election period. You specifically said the 3 districts are voting for 2 representatives NOT 1, therefore, it is imperative for your office to inform the voters to follow those written and also verbal instructions to choose 2 Representatives or else their 1 vote will be invalidated.
The Legislature will be in session this month and since time is of the essence; it will be pertinent for your office to have the Fono enact legislation or resolution to solve this problem. I recall your reply to my previous letter concerning this matter stating that you are forced to count the 1 vote because there’s no law that invalidates the 1 vote, therefore, I advise you to please solve this problem once and for all.
It’s fair game and morally correct if 2 Representatives won because all the voters honestly followed the set rules. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the “Block Vote” method is used by certain voters to have their favorite candidate’s advantage against his or her opponent, but is that legitimate under the current election law?
Honesty, legitimacy, transparency and being unbiased should always be practiced by your office and staff for accurate voting results during election. And please accept my apology if you feel that I’m interfering with your assigned duties.
I’m not writing to do such, but I’m optimistic that you will consider rectifying this unfair practice that’s blurring the integrity and the sets of principles held by your office and staff.
It’s necessary to set straightforward regulations that are transparent for voters to follow, that are beneficial for the entire voting population of American Samoa.
I humbly ask you to please reconsider looking into this very important matter and I sincerely believe that you will take care of this “repeated” inaccuracy during election. I will look forward to your reply. Thank you and God bless.
Signed by: Su’a Lucia Alefosio Bartley