Faoa and Sanitoa raise concerns about possible voter fraud, “undue influence”…
The gubernatorial team of Faoa Aitofele Sunia and Rep. Larry Sanitoa have raised with Chief Election Officer Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei “matters which are causing concerns for our committee,” according to Faoa’s Nov. 7th letter, which has been received by Uiagalelei.
PAGO PAGO POLLING STATION
According to the letter the Pago Pago polling station has actual residents that have participated in campaign process and the “head of household” is a male (who is identified by name in the letter — but Samoa News has opted to not name them at this time, unless legal action is taken.)
“We are concerned that the residents of this polling station will be present in and around this polling station on Election Day,” the letter says and asked that Uiagalelei ensure that these residents, as well as the head of household and his family will not be present at the polling station on Election Day “to unduly influence voting.”
PICTURES OF BALLOTS TAKEN VIA MOBILE PHONES
Another issue raised with Uiagalelei is the practice that has been talked about for some time in all districts but particularly the district of Pago Pago, where voters were allegedly advised by campaign committees to take digital pictures of their ballots using their cell phones in order to prove that they have voted for a particular candidate. (The letter didn’t identify the candidate.)
“While we know that each voter has guaranteed that their ballot is made in secret, we are also aware that in this day and age, ballots may also be for sale,” Faoa said, and hoped that Uiagalelei will take this information into account when determining whether a phone may be taken into a polling booth.
At the Ili’ili polling station as well as other polling stations, based on reports received by Samoa News, voters who were seen with their cell phones heading into the polling booths were asked not to take them into the booth but to leave them outside. In some cases, voters were told to put their phone in a box located inside the polling station, to be picked up when leaving.
DUPLICATE VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBER
Also raised is possible duplication of voter registration numbers for two different individuals. According to Faoa, the two individuals are registered voters for District 10 and one of the individuals resides in Hawai’i and works for ASG. The other individual lives in American Samoa and has voted in at least one prior election. The letter provided the names of the two individuals. (Samoa News has again opted not to publish the names of the individuals at this time, unless the issue becomes a legal matter.)
ELECTION OFFICIALS — ABSENTEE
Faoa noted the current year’s departure from past election years’ protocol for the casting of absentee ballots by election officials. In prior years, the practice was to have election officials cast ballots absentee and these votes were usually cast some prior time and encased within an envelope that was signed for the purpose of verification.
However, this year’s election, the election officials’ votes were cast and were deposited directly into the ballot boxes, said Faoa, who sought an explanation on this matter.
SILI VILLAGE VOTERS
“It has come to our attention that there are voters who have been registered in the village of Sili (in Manu’a) that have no connection at all to the village,” said Faoa, who reminded Uiagalelei the residency requirement under election law that must be enforced by the chief election officer.
Faoa also wrote that it has been brought to their attention that these voters have already voted, via absentee. Faoa then listed the names of the four individuals in question and their names are not Samoan. The names also include their voter registration number. (Again, Samoa News has opted not to publish the names of the individuals at this time, unless legal action is taken.)
Faoa says this raises questions about the veracity of these registrations and subsequent ballots that have been cast.
“Consequently, as a candidate for governor and as a registered voter, I herewith challenge the registration of these individuals as residents of Sili,” Faoa wrote. “I also challenge their eligibility to vote as absentee voters. We would like your decision on this matter as soon as possible.”
Samoa News wasn’t able to confirm last night if Uiagalelei has responded to Faoa’s entire letter or part of the letter.