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Update: Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu unofficial winner in District #5

Chief Clerk of the House, Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu, garnered the most votes during Tuesday’s Special Election for Representative District #5, Sua #1, according to “unofficial results” from the Election Office. The results will become official following a 7-day period, in accordance with local law. [photo: AF]

Chief Clerk of the House, Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu, garnered the most votes during Tuesday’s Special Election for House of Representatives District #5, Sua #1 — which comprises Fagaitua, Amaua, Auto, Avaio, Alega, Aumi and Laulii, according to “unofficial results”, released by Chief Election Officer, Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei.

Lutu has served for more than a decade as the Chief Clerk, which is one of the three elective posts in the House. The other two posts are Speaker of the House and Sergeant-at-Arms.

Pursuant to local law, results are unofficial until Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 4:30p.m — seven days after the day of election, said Uiagalelei, adding that it was a very peaceful special election.

The seven-day period gives electors or candidates time to contest — by filing a complaint with the Clerk of the High Court — the results of the special election, according to election law.

Uiagalelei released the unofficial results around 7p.m. Tuesday — an hour after the polls closed and it showed a low turn out of voters. Uiagalelei told Samoa News early this month and he reconfirmed yesterday morning that the total number of registered voters is 634.

However, the unofficial results show that only 357 ballots were counted, including 18 absentee ballots, which were mainly local absentee voters, who are qualified registered electors unable to go to the polls on election day (people traveling off island or hospitalized).

Of the total ballots counted, Lutu  — the only female candidate — received 94 votes (or 26%) followed by Tuifagalilo P. Vele with 72 votes (20%); former lawmaker, Tuialofi Fa’alae Lauatuaa Tunupopo, with 64 votes (18%); Laloniu P. Maloa with 57 votes (16%); Uele Fale S. Uele with 50 votes (14%); and Ketesemane Meaole with 20 votes (6%), according to the unofficial results.

Interestingly, based on the unofficial results, Maloa’s 57 votes were all cast at the polling station at Lauli’i — which includes Aumi and Tafananai — and he didn’t receive any votes at the other two polling places.

The District #5, Sua #1 seat became vacant on Sept. 1st this year, after Pulele’iite Li’a Tufele, Jr. stepped down to take  on his new post as CEO of the American Samoa Tele Communications Authority (ASTCA).

The official winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Pulele’iite’s term, which officially ends before 12noon on Jan. 3, 2019.

Uiagalelei expressed sincere appreciation to the community for their cooperation in ensuring the special election was a success. He also thanked village mayors, as well as police, for their continued support during the special election.