Samoa Plans To Make Voting Compulsory

Cabinet endorses Electoral Commission of Inquiry recommendation

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, June 15, 2017) – Voting and registration as a voter will be compulsory.  Speaking on Samoa FM last night, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said Cabinet has endorsed the Electoral Commission of Inquiry’s report that recommended registration and voting to be compulsory as a means to exercise voters’ freedom without candidates influence.

The Prime Minister said Cabinet has directed the Minster of Elections for a full study of the report and implementation.

Currently, it is compulsory to register as a voter at the legal age but is not illegal for one not to vote. Last elections showed a high number of young people who did not register and those who registered but did not vote.

The PM says it is crucial to have a robust electoral system and for everyone to cast their votes freely in order to get the best candidates to run the government.

The Commissions’ report also addressed the controversial electoral districts boundaries with what used to be the Individual voter seats now becoming Urban Seats. There are also constituencies where more than half the voters are in Upolu but vote for a constituency in Savaii.

There is also the imbalance in voter numbers as per constituency.

Legislation is expected to go to Parliament ahead of the next general elections to address the recommended electoral reforms.

Copyright © 2017 Talamua. All Rights Reserved

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