Maugaolai’i Sipa Anoa’i wins Fagatogo seat by lot
Former faipule for House District #8 Fagatogo, Maugaoali’i Sipa Anoa’i is returning to the new Legislature next January after he won yesterday’s lot held at the Election Office in Tafuna.
Maugaoali’i and incumbent Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi were tied with 207 ballots each following the Nov. 6th general election, and in accordance with local election law, the tie between the two candidates was to be determined by lot, whereby both parties agree to the outcome.
Pursuant to the lot, Maugaoali’i L. Sipa Anoa’i “was determined” to be the legally elected Representative for District No. 8 to the local House, said chief election officer Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono in an official statement released just before 4 p.m. yesterday.
Soliai later confirmed to Samoa News the decision, adding that things went smoothly during the lot decision.
THE PROCESS TO DETERMINE THE WINNER
Soliai explained to Samoa News the process of the lot drawing, which was done twice. The first “se’i” or draw was to select who will go first in the final drawing to determine the actual winner of the Fagatogo seat, said Soliai, who noted that this was also the explanation provided to the candidates.
There were two pieces of paper — one is marked with the number “one” and the other piece of paper with the number “two”. The papers were then placed in a small box for the drawing.
Maugaoali’i gave Vailiuama the honor to “se’i” first, since he is the incumbent, but Vailiuama declined, and offered the honor to Maugaoali’i.
Both Maugaoali’i and Vailiuama drew a piece of paper, with Maugaoli’ going first. It was found that Maugaoali’i drew the piece of paper that had the number “two” — meaning that he would “se’i” second during the final draw; and Vailiuama pulled the piece of paper with the number “one”.
The pair were also told that the final se’i to decide the winner would also have two pieces of paper — one with the word “winner”, while the other would be blank.
Vailiuama, going first, then pulled the blank piece of paper and Maugaoali’i pulled the one which said “winner”.
Soliai said the pair shook hands and he declared Maugaoali’i the winner.
According to Soliai, this is the second time during his tenure as chief election officer, that a House district seat was decided by lot.
The first one was several years ago, for one of the seats in the Vaifanua district when the race was also a tie. He said one of the candidates took him to court, which ordered him to follow the law and to decide the winner by lot.
Vailiuama served as the House Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair during the 32nd Legislature. During the 2010 general election, Maugaoali’i lost to Vailiuama — 191 to 301 votes, respectively.
OTHER ELECTION NEWS
Soliai said local absentee voting is underway for those electors confined at home due to illness, or homebound and unable to go to the polls in next Tuesday’s special election for the gubernatorial race. Local absentee voting will continue until the close of business next week Monday.
He said election officials are working hard to make sure that all electors who fall in this category are able to cast their ballots. The list from the general election is being used to allow these electors’ to cast their absentee votes.
He also reminds candidates in the gubernatorial race that they must submit right away to the Election Office their list of poll watchers for the 45 polling stations. As of yesterday afternoon none of the candidates have submitted any lists, he said.