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Lawmakers approve extra money to fund election

fili@samoanews.com

Lawmakers in American Samoa have allocated an additional $100,000 to fund the 2012 general election, which has a historically high number of candidates. According to the fiscal year 2013 budget document, only $200,000 is allocated for the Nov. 6 general election. This funding is separate from the annual budget allocation of the Election Office.

However, chief election officer Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono said two weeks ago that total cost to operate this year’s election is $440,000 with $280,500 for the general election alone and $159,500 for the run-off, or special election.

Last Thursday the House of Representative approved the government’s more than $454 million budget for FY 2013, which includes an additional $100,000 to fund the general election. The territorial Senate is now going through its final approval of the budget before submission to the governor for review and approval.

Soliai said over the weekend he is pleased with the additional money but cautioned that general election budget will still be in the red by the end of FY 2013, unless lawmakers next year approve a supplemental budget, that would include more money to cover general election expenses.

The Nov. 6 election has six candidates for governor, five in the Delegate race for the U.S. House and  61 vying for the 20 elected seats for the territorial House of Representatives.

More details on the amended FY 2013 for the government in tomorrow’s edition.



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