CANDIDATES WILL BE CERTIFIED WHEN CHALLENGE PERIOD ENDS
Registered voters in American Samoa have until the end of the close of business on Thursday to file any challenges against candidates for public office in this year’s general election, says Chief Election Officer Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono, who released the list of candidates around 1a.m. Sunday after candidate registration closed at 4:30p.m. Saturday.
Soliai said Sunday morning that Saturday’s registration went smoothly although many of the last minute candidates were registering for the local House race.
Just before 4:30p.m. Saturday, the lobby of the Election Office was already empty and two Election staffers say it was very busy throughout the day with registration for local House candidates. Tutuila was drenched with heavy rain all day Saturday but that didn’t prevent candidates from getting their names on the ballot.
According to the list of candidates there are six teams for the gubernatorial race and five candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives race - all of them have already publicly announced their candidacy. In the local House race there are some 61 candidates.
Pursuant to local law, “any registered qualified elector may challenge the right” of any person to be a candidate for office, said Soliai in a memorandum included in the list of candidates. (See elsewhere in today’s Samoa News for the complete list of candidates as well as other election information from the Chief Election Officer).
However, the Chief Election Officer shall receive the challenge no later than 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6. The challenge shall be in writing, setting forth the grounds upon which it is based, and signed by the person making the challenge, said Soliai.
“Upon the expiration of the deadline, or the determination of any challenges, candidates shall be certified and ballots shall be printed, bearing the names of all candidates certified for office,” he said.
Before the ballots are printed, Soliai told Samoa News that all certified candidates will be given the chance to review how their names will appear on the ballot and the placing of their names on the ballot. For the referendum on the veto override ballot, the Election Office plans to have this ballot viewed by the public.
LOCAL HOUSE RACE
According to the list of candidates there are 61 candidates vying for the 20-elected seats of the local House of Representatives, among them are the 19 incumbents who are seeking re-election. The 20th incumbent, Rep. Tautolo Charlie Agaoleatu is retiring from public office at the end of his current term. (See separate story on Tautolo, who has served in the House for just over two decades.)
Seeking to occupy this vacant seat are five candidates including a current senator, Fuata Dr. Tagiilima F. I’atala, who couldn’t be reached immediately for confirmation that he is running in this House race.
(All terms for senators end this year and in accordance with local statute traditional leaders of their respective counties selected them.)
The only unopposed incumbent is Rep. Faimealelei Anthony Allen, who is currently serving his first term in office for Representative District # 11 (Aua village). Samoa News understands that Faimealelei, current chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, is the only candidate who picked up an election petition for his district.
The highest number of candidates, (eight) are in the Tualauta county, which has two seats, while the lowest number of candidates (two) are in three representative districts - including Representative District #14, whose incumbent House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale is being challenged by only one opponent.
Some of the candidates are previous lawmakers and this year’s House race includes about eleven female candidates - among them are veteran educator Dr. Trudie Iuli-Sala, former lawmaker Fiasili Puni Haleck, who is also a former cabinet member and businesswoman Florence Saulo.
Click on attachment below to download pdf of Election Office list of candidates.
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