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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 28, 2001 – Samoa News)---The Speaker of the House, Matagi Ray Ma'ilo McMoore, believes primary elections for American Samoa's seat in the U.S. Congress and registration for overseas military warrant a full review and discussion by the Fono and the people of American Samoa.

On December 20th, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin introduced his proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to require a local primary election when more than two candidates vie for the Territory's seat in the House.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, Faleomavaega's bill will go into effect for the local 2004 general election.

The bill also seeks to allow active military members whose permanent residence is American Samoa to register at home to vote in a federal election without having to do so in person.

Faleomavaega said he will also be requesting considerations from the Fono and the Governor when his bill goes into committee hearing.

Eni has previously raised the point that many times during run-off elections, absentee voters do not receive their updated ballots until after or on the day of the special election.

On November 20th, Faleomavaega informed Governor Tauese Sunia and the Fono leadership of his intention to introduce his bill.

House Speaker McMoore issued a reply on December 5th.

"These issues dealing with election primaries for the Delegate's seat and voter registration for overseas military personnel are extremely important matters that deal directly with local election procedures and laws," Matagi wrote.

"It is my opinion that these issues should be given a full open and fair deliberation before the people and Legislature of American Samoa," the Speaker continued.

"Our lawmakers need the opportunity to acquire further information to appropriately develop solutions to any weakness in our local election laws," he pointed out.

"I intend to address these issues in the House of Representatives. I look forward to working with you on these issues in the next session of the Fono," the Speaker concluded.

The next session of the Fono, the 3rd session of the 27th Legislature is scheduled to convene on the second Monday of January.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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