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Voter registration deadline looms — voter roll more than 17,000 so far

With campaign committees pushing voter registration in their own camps, the Election Office is hoping for more than 18,000 registered voters in the Nov. 6 general election, which has an historically high number of candidates, including the gubernatorial race, says Chief Election Officer Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono.

As of last Thursday morning, the voter registration roll was more than 17,000 electors and the Election Office urged qualified voters who have not registered to vote and those needed to register to do so, before the close of business on Oct. 9th — which is the deadline.

“We are hoping that our voter roll for this year will reach 18,000 or more, which will be of importance to our territory as voters will be electing top political posts in government,” Soliai said during an interview Thursday after his office. “Voters will also cast ballots on a referendum.”

Soliai revealed that candidates’ campaign committees have been very active in making sure that all eligible age voters, not yet registered, are brought in for registration.

“Election officials in past months and even late last year, conducted education and awareness voting program, visiting high schools where seniors are expected to reach the voting age of 18,” said Soliai. “But not many of them took that opportunity to register with election officials.”

“What I’m seeing now with the campaigns are a lot of 18 year olds brought in for registration. I express our sincere appreciation to all campaign committees for their diligent efforts in making sure that qualified electors in their districts are registered electors,” said Soliai.

Word from several candidates and their campaign committees confirmed that they are making sure that anyone who qualifies to vote, but has not done so, is being taken to the Election Office in Tafuna to register.

Meanwhile, the “Speak-Up Amerika Samoa — Your VOTE is your VOICE” concert is set for this Friday evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium featuring artists such as Richard Parker, Ben Vai, Joe Failua and Melenau Lino.

The main goal of the concert is to encourage residents to register to vote and also vote in the general election. Valid voter ID holders can present their IDs and enter the concert free of charge.