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Election office open half-day on Labor Day for voter reg

fili@samoanews.com

The Election Office reminds those wanting to run for public office that 4:30pm today is the deadline to file candidacy papers and its office in Tafuna will be open this Monday, the Labor Day holiday.

Chief Election Officer Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono said the Election Office will open half-day on Monday, from 7:30am to 12 noon “for voter registrations, transfer, name changes and expired voter ID cards”.

“This is an important election year for American Samoa and I want to make sure that every one eligible to vote is given the chance to register,” Soliai said yesterday. “And in every election year there are also changes from the previous election, dealing with change of name and transfer from one from voting district to another. So it's important that the Election Office is open to assist the community, whenever we can, and a holiday is one of those days when members of the community have time to come in to our office.”

Those wanting to transfer their voting district, must provide to the Election Office “proof of residence for one year” at the new voting district.  “Those seeking transfers must comply with the law. It's not what we want, it’s what the law says,” said Soliai, who added that this issue is always a problem every election year with voters complaining about having to provide details to have their voting district transfer.

For persons, who are new registered voters, or those who are re-registering after their names were purged from the voter roll for not voting in the last two elections, the Election Office requires that these people bring their green birth certification (issued by the Office of Vital Statistics) or valid passport, social security card and photo ID card (issue by the American Samoa Government or military).

For a name change, the person is required to provide the “marriage certificate and social security card with the married name; matai titles must be a registered title with certificate; adoption must have legal documents/court orders, whatever the case may be.”

CANDIDATE REGISTRATION

Soliai reminds all people wanting to run for public office this year that the deadline for candidate registration will not be extended from 4:30pm today. “Again I reiterate to everyone the importance of keeping to the deadline,” he said.

Once the registration is completed, the Election Office will release the list of candidates for all public offices (and posted at the Election Office). No time frame was available at press time of when the list will be made public.

The only cause for delaying the release of the candidates list is if there is a large number of last minute registrations for candidates — which has been the case in past election years for the local House race. The Election Office has to verify the qualifications of all candidates as well as the voters, who sign petitions for candidates.

In accordance with local election law, a three-day grace period is provided for challenges to be filed. If there are no challenges, then the ballots are printed after 4pm on the third day, but prior to printing the ballots candidates are given the chance to review the ballots.

The local election law states that the Chief Election Officer shall determine whether the nominated candidates are eligible for election, and shall cause ballots to be printed for each office bearing the names of all qualified nominees.

After the three-day grace period, the Election Office will also release the official certified list of all candidates in the 2012 general election.



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