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Soliai apologizes to early voters for no gov ballots

fili@samoanews.com

Chief Election Office Soliai T. Fuimaono has offered his sincere apologies to local qualified voters who are unable to cast ballots in the gubernatorial race for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor because this matter is before the Appellate Division of the High Court.

Soliai says local absentee voting for electors, who reside on island but will be absent on election day, Nov. 6 is proceeding well, However he says one issue faced by the Election Office staff is some absentee voters are complaining about not being able to cast their ballot in the gubernatorial race.

“I offer my apologies to our absentee voters on this matter, but candidates for the gubernatorial race cannot be certified and ballots cannot be printed until the matter before the court is concluded,” Soliai said in a phone interview last Friday morning.

“We ask for your patients in this matter. Local absentee voting is entering into its second week and the Election Office will only accept local absentee voting from those who reside permanently in the territory but will be traveling off island on military orders, for medical check ups, conferences or meetings and won’t be on island on election day, Nov. 6.”

 Henry Kappel, the legal counsel to the Election Office told the court last Friday afternoon that some 25 absentee ballots have been cast for other races and the referendum.

One of the questions that voters, who have already cast their absentee ballots, have raised with the Election Office is if they are going to be able to vote in the gubernatorial race, while off island.

Soliai said the territory’s election laws are clear as to who are considered overseas voters, and these are individuals serving in the military, American Samoa students attending school for higher education and ASG employees working in the United States.

More information on eligibility to vote overseas absentee is on the Election Office website at: www.americansamoaelectionoffice.org



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