AMERICAN SAMOAN VOTERS WARNED ABOUT SAMOA ELECTION

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (January 10, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)---American Samoa's Chief Election Officer Soliai T. Fuimaono issued a public warning to local voters saying they cannot vote in the upcoming Samoa election, based on local election laws.

Parliamentary elections are slated for March in Samoa, but the actual date has not yet been set. However, registration is under way and closes January 19.

Based on local election laws, Soliai said a voter loses his/her residency status in American Samoa if he/she votes, by absentee ballot or in person, in an election held elsewhere.

Soliai said there are qualified voters in the territory who hold dual citizenship (U.S. and Samoa) and who may have registered, or are contemplating registering, for the upcoming Samoa election.

"Please be informed that members of my staff will travel to Samoa after Samoa's Parliamentary elections to determine if any of our qualified electors voted in Samoa's election," Soliai explained in a statement.

"Upon verification that a qualified elector has voted, the qualified elector's name will be removed from our Official Roll of Registered Voters," he continued.

"Such persons must re-registered and provide proof of residency in order to qualify to vote again in American Samoa," he added.

Soliai later told reporters that after the Samoa parliamentary election in 1996, his staff traveled to Apia to investigate if any of the locally qualified voters cast their ballots in Samoa.

According to Soliai, they identified some persons whose names then were taken off the official roll for the American Samoa November 1996 Election.

"We must adhere to our local election laws," said Soliai.

There is, however, a large number of Samoans residing in the territory who qualify to vote in Samoa.

They will be going to Apia during the March election.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT MIGHT SEIZE SAMOA ALIA

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Jan. 10, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)---A Samoa-based alia that arrived in the territory under the blanket of darkness may be subject to seizure by the local government because no prior clearance was obtained, according to a Port Administration official.

The alia arrived Tuesday night without the knowledge of the local authorities.

Local laws require any foreign vessel entering Pago Pago Harbor to obtain clearance in advance from the Department of Port Administration.

With no prior notice, authorities were unaware of the alia's arrival until the following day, when the seven-member crew already had left the alia.

Authorities are investigating the matter.

There is a possibility that the alia will be seized and subjected to a fine.

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