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Campaign Update: Deadline for filing petition for candidacy is TODAY!

Candidates running for public office in this year’s general election have until the close of business today to file their petition, while a lawmaker has called on Election Office to ensure that names of voters who have passed away are purged from the official Voter Roll.

Election Office yesterday reminds candidates for the Nov. 8th election that 4:30p.m today, Sept. 1st, is the deadline to file petitions for the gubernatorial, congressional and local House races. The Election Office will release thereafter the list of all candidates.

As of Monday this week, there are still only two teams who picked up the petition form for the gubernatorial race, although rumors persists of a possible third team, but nothing is confirmed until the registration closes today and the list of candidates is made public.

Electors have three-days after registration closes to challenge the qualification of any candidate seeking public office.

Meanwhile, chief election officer Uiagalelei Dr. Lealaofi Uiagalelei appeared Tuesday morning before the Fono Joint Budget Committee hearing for the Election Office’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

House Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr. noted that he recently picked up a Voter Roll, and was saddened to find that there are voters, who passed away five years ago, still on the list.

He said nothing is being done to remove these individuals from the Voter Roll and requested the Election Office update the list — as required by law.

(Voter registration closes at 4:30p.m. Oct. 11th and thereafter the Election Office releases to candidates the final Voter Roll.)

Uiagalelei responded that the Voter Roll will be reviewed again as the Election Office is preparing for the general election in November. He added that Sens. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono and Tuaolo Manaia Fruean — who were present at the budget hearing and are former chief election officers in the last five years — didn’t do their jobs in removing voters, who passed away five years ago. This brought laughter from lawmakers, including Soliai and Tuaolo.

With that there were no questions for the budget and no one asked if the $300,000 allocated under Special Programs is sufficient to carry out the general election.

In the 2012 general election, the Election Office sought additional money to carry out the election that year, which included the gubernatorial race.

Funds under Special Programs are separate from the Election Office’s annual budget. For the FY 2017, the budget proposal totals $609,500 with 25 employees compared to FY 2016 approved budget of $615,000 with 19 employees.