2,000 purged from American Samoa voter rolls — you can re-register says CEO Uiagalelei
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Of the 2,000 voters purged following the 2018 general election, more than 400 have already re-registered for the 2020 November general election, says Chief Election Officer, Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei, who also noted that a new fee has been implemented for voter ID replacement.
Local election law states in part that the election officer shall remove the name of any qualified elector failing to vote in the last two consecutive elections.
Uiagalelei explained that the Election Office’s latest purge was 2,000 voters from the 2018 election. Of those purged, a total of 456 have already re-registered.
Uiagalelei says that voters were notified right after the purge process. Letters were sent out to them via postal mail explaining local laws (Section 6.0215) and that they can re-register in person with the American Samoa Election Office.
According to the Election Commissioner, approximately 14,000-plus voters remained on the voter roll after the purging process in 2018 — that also included people who have died.
“People are still coming in to register and the number will climb up again this coming election,” Uiagalelei told Samoa News yesterday.
Uiagalelei explained that voter purges, as required by law are done the 60th day after every election. “2020 voter purges will be conducted after the November 3, 2020 General Election” — around Jan. 2, 2021.
Samoa News received information that the Election Office has imposed a $5 fee policy for voter ID replacement. Uiagalelei said this policy was implemented Feb. 5th this year.
“A lot of voters abuse the free Voters ID with our office,” said Uiagalelei when asked for the reason behind the new policy. “Some would come at least 2-5 times to get a replacement Voter ID card.”
He said some would come and get a replacement ID for a different purpose — such as to cash checks, food stamps, WIC, travel, etc.
Even without a voter ID, Uiagalelei emphasized that the qualified voter can still vote by using his/ her passport, or driver’s license on Election Day to vote.
OTHER ELECTION ISSUES
Uiagalelei said voter registration is still ongoing despite the COVID-19 emergency declaration. “People are still coming in to register to vote in the November General Election,” he said, noting that voter registration is done at the Election office in Tafuna.
Documents needed for registration: Birth certificate or U.S passport; Social Security Card; Government Official ID.
The Election Office is also accepting requests for absentee ballots up until September. An absentee ballot applies only to those who are in uniformed services, overseas citizens, students, ASG employees and Federal Employees.
All must be registered with the American Samoa Election Office. To request an absentee ballot, please visit the Election Office website at www.aselectionoffice.gov for guidance to the absentee ballot form.
For those wanting to run for public office this year, candidate petitions/ forms and new voters list will be available on June 15, 2020 at the Election Office, which will update a new voter list before the general election.
Electors in American Samoa go to the polls this year to vote for the governor and lieutenant governor; Delegate to the US House and the 20-elected members of the local House of Representatives.
Because this year includes the gubernatorial race, a high number of registered voters are expected.