Election Office starts process of purging voters

fili@samoanews.com

The Election Office has started the process of purging — or removing — names of electors from the official voter registration roll as required by law following last November’s general election, while updated data is now available regarding the election two years ago.

In its fiscal year 2107 first quarter performance report — covering the period of Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016 — the Election Office says its Registration Division has started the process to purge from the official voter registration roll, names of electors who failed to vote in two consecutive elections (which are the 2016 and 2014 elections.)

Local law requires the purging of names of electors who failed to vote in two consecutive elections. Last year’s election saw voters casting ballots for the gubernatorial, congressional and local House of Representatives races. The gubernatorial race is held every four years.

Voters whose names are purged will be notified by letter to re-register to vote in the next general election — which is November 2018, says the Election Office report, adding that voter registration will be open when the purging process is competed.

It also points out that during the “successful” 2016 general election, approximately 17,339 names were registered to vote, with 70% casting votes on election day.

The report also says that after the close of the 2016 election and certification of results, a complete data system recode and Official Roll reconciliation was done to capture vote status and prepare for the purge operation. This operation includes matching and classifying all absentee voting as well as reconciliation of the 2014 and 2016 Voter Roll Signatures.

According to the 2015 American Samoa Statistical Yearbook released early this year by the Commerce Department, about 16,780 people registered to vote in the 2014 election — a drop from the 2012 election.

In 2014, there were only 10,120 electors who cast votes, with the Tualauta voting district (District #15) casting the most votes with 1,695 (16.7%); followed by Ituau (District #12) with 1,347 votes cast (about 13.3%); and rounding off the top three was the Fofo (District #13) with 847 votes cast (about 8.4%).

The data, which came from the Election Office, shows that in the 2014 election, the majority of registered voters were between the ages of 18 and 34 (49 percent) while about 22 percent of registered voters were between the ages of 35 and 49. The 50- 64 age group made up 18 percent of registered voters. The 65 and over age group had the least registered voters with 11 percent.

Breaking down by gender, shows more women registered to vote — 9,009 females (53.7%) and 7,771 males (46.3%). There was no breakdown of cast votes per gender.

The Election Office will release at a later time, this same type of data — which includes breakdown of total ballots cast at polling stations — from the 2016 election.

The 2015 Statistical Yearbook is available online: www.doc.as.gov

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