Samoa’s Electoral Commission replaces pre-polling form to address alleged pre-polling tampering

The Samoa Office of the Electoral Commission, (OEC) is replacing the Pre-Polling Form to address and erase alleged tampering to influence the voters by Campaign Committee members.

“Voters from two Electoral Constituencies have personally registered their grave concerns that campaign officials are paying out cash for their votes as Pre-Poll voters,” Prime Minister and HRPP Leader Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi announced on his weekly TV Live Stream programme.

Savali News reports, according to Tuilaepa, voters have claimed the offenders to be campaigners for the FAST Political Party.

Subsequently in recent days, OEC also has received similar grievances from more than 20 voters.

And to immediately put to stop to the alleged unlawful practice, OEC has suspended the Pre-Polling Process.

As for the complaints, they are not registered and will be dealt later as OEC is pressing forward with their primary Pre-General Election preparations.

The suspension effective from yesterday (Wednesday) will allow the Electoral Commissioner to redesign the pre-polling application form.

By Monday OEC staff will be distributing the new pre-poll form to process eligible pre-polling voters for review and approval by Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio.

The change is to ensure that voters eligible to pre-poll and their rights to choose who to vote for are not compromised, said the Electoral Commissioner.

Once approved, the pre-poll voters will have 4 days from Monday, 5 April to Thursday, 8 April 2021 to cast their ballots.

For the public’s information Section 60(2) of by the Electoral Act 2019 approved by law to govern pre-polling is published below;

61. Application and process for pre-polling:

(1) A person qualifies to pre-poll if the person:

(a) travels outside Samoa during the designated period under section 60(2);

(b) is 65 years old or above;

(c) is a person living with disabilities;

(d) is nominated (in a method approved by the Commissioner) by a person qualified under paragraphs (b) or (c) to be his or her carer;

(e) is confirmed (in a method approved by the Commissioner) to be employed in an Office providing a service listed under section 5 of the Public Holidays Act 2008;

(2) A person who qualifies under this section must apply to the Commissioner after the day of closure of rolls ending 14 days from polling day at 4.00pm.

(3) Upon receipt of an application the Commissioner must determine whether a person qualifies under this section to pre-poll and must notify that person of his decision and reasons for the Commissioner’s decision.

(4) Only 1 ballot box can be used for pre-polling during the designated period under section 60(2).

(5) The ballot box is to be transported to and from the polling booth by a police officer when required for the casting of votes.

(6) When the ballot box is not in the polling booth, it must be held in the custody of the police officer until it required to be transported to the polling booth.

(7) At a polling booth designated under this section, the Presiding Officer must as soon as practicable after each day within designated period, carry out the procedure in section 77.

(8) Sections 55 – 58, 67 – 76, 78– 79 apply to this section.

(9) On the day pre-polling ends, at 4.00pm, the police officer must keep the ballot box in the police officer’s custody until the day notified under section 81 in which case, the police officer must transport the ballot box to the Commissioner.

(10) The ballot boxes used under this section are to be sealed in a manner prescribed by Regulations.


Photo file RNZ Pacific