List of candidates for 2016 General Election released
Registered voters in American Samoa have until the close of business next week Thursday — September 8, 2016 — to file any challenges against candidates for public office in this year’s general election, says Chief Election Officer Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei, who released before 7:30pm, yesterday, the “Determination of Eligibility of Candidates for the 2016 General Election” list via a memo after candidate registration closed at 4:30pm, yesterday, Sept. 1st.
Release of the list is based upon the Nomination Petitions filed and other documents on record with the Election Office, said Uiagalelei, who has determined the individuals — on the list — are “eligible to qualify as candidates” for the Nov. 8, 2016 general election.
Pursuant to local law — “Any registered qualified elector may challenge the right” of any person to be a candidate for office, said Uiagalelei in a memorandum included with the list of candidates. (See elsewhere in today’s Samoa News for the complete list of candidates.)
However, the Chief Election Officer shall receive the challenge no later than 4p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8. The challenge shall be in writing, setting forth the grounds upon which it is based, and signed by the person making the challenge, the Chief Election Officer said.
“Upon the expiration of the deadline, or the determination of any challenges, candidates shall be certified and ballots shall be printed, bearing the names of all candidates certified for office,” he said.
In past years, before the ballots are printed, all certified candidates would be given the chance to review how their names will appear on the ballot and the placing of their names on the ballot.
According to the list of candidates there are: Three teams for the gubernatorial race — incumbent Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga being challenged by the gubernatorial team of Faoa Aitofele Sunia and Rep. Larry Sanitoa as well as the team of Tuika Tuika Jr. and Salanoa Iuni Maeva Saveena.
For the congressional race there are five candidates including Tim Jones — who has not yet made an official announcement, while the other four have already publicly declared their candidacies.
In the local House of Representatives race, current House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale is the only incumbent running unopposed.
There are total of 61 candidates for the local House race for the 20-elected House members. Except for Sanitoa, who is a candidate for lieutenant governor, all House incumbents are seeking re-election.
The highest number of candidates (eight) are running in the Tualauta county, which has two seats, while the lowest number of candidates (one) running in one representative district.
Some of the candidates are previous lawmakers and this year’s House race includes Uta Dr. Laloulu Tagoilelagi, current Arts Council Office director and there are also several women in the race including incumbents Reps. Vui Florence Saulo and Atalina Asifoa.