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Voting in American Samoa: If you’ve lost your voter ID, you can still vote

American Samoa voter, Ufi Fegaimaali’i

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Any registered voter, who has lost or misplaced their Voter ID when polls open territory-wide for the 2018 mid-term election today, can still cast their ballot, by making sure proof of identification is provided to election officials at the respective polling stations.

Samoa News received yesterday morning local inquiries from residents wanting to know how they could vote today, if their voter ID is misplaced or lost.

Election officials told Samoa News last night that the registered elector can use his/her US passport or a government ID with photo to vote today, if the Voter ID is lost or misplaced. The name on the passport/government ID must match the person’s name on the voter roll.

As voters go to the polls today, election and ASG officials remind the public, including all candidates running for public office as well as their supporters, that giving away free food on Election Day is banned under local law; and any loud music near polling stations is also prohibited.

Election officials remind supporters of candidates as well as others not to block the right of way of voters heading to and from the polling stations and this issue is expected to be stressed to poll watchers and others before the polls open.

Yellow tape (similar to that used by police at a crime scene) is expected to be set up denoting the boundaries around a polling station, especially in polling stations held at Guest Houses (fales). Chief Election Officer Dr. Lealaofi Uiagalelei urged candidates and their representatives to comply with these policies.


And employers — both public and private sectors — are reminded by government officials regarding local law, which entitles an employee — who is an elector — to leave on election day for voting. The law states in part that electors on the day of election are entitled to be absent from any service or employment for a period of two consecutive hours, excluding any lunch or rest period between the time of opening and closing of the polls, to cast ballots.

Another provision of the law (ASCA 6.0503 — Exemptions of qualified electors on election day), states that: “Every qualified elector shall be privileged from arrest on election day while at his polling place and in going to and returning therefrom, except in case of breach of the peace then committed, or in case of treason or felony.”

The sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages is banned during the time polls are open, according to local law. Police are also expected to enforce this law in cooperation with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

At the same time, police will continue their patrol and enforcement up to the day after election to ensure a peaceful 2018 election.

American Samoa is hoping for good weather today, after yesterday’s bad weather, pouring rain in the early morning hours, with high winds.

In the meantime, some local residents are expected to keep a close watch on the outcome of the Governor’s race in Hawai’i where 37-year old Hawai’i state Rep. Andria Tupola, who is of Samoan ancestry, is the Republican candidate hoping to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. David Ige.

Tupola, who was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014, is the first Samoan/Hawaiian woman to serve as House Minority leader - a position she continues to serve in today, according to her online bio.

There will also be some local interest in the outcome of national elections, especially for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate with Republican Party aiming to keep control of Congress.  Samoa News will provide local and national election updates in tomorrow’s edition.