Samoa’s elections going electronic in 2021


Voters lining up outside one of the polling booths in the 2016 general elections

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2018: Samoa is moving to electronic voting in the 2021 general elections.

The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalōmatumua Mathew Lemisio told Talamua the new voting system will solve the delays in obtaining preliminary election results on polling day.

“After the 2016 by-election, we looked at ways to improve our service, and the electronic voting system is included in our 5 year Strategic Plan.”

How it works according to the Commissioner, is that a voters fingerprint is scanned and registered digitally and that information will accompany the voters choice of candidate on polling day.

“The voting box of which you will cast your vote is electronic too; so once you cast your vote the machine automatically takes that in its counting process, so that by the end of the day, the main office will have a tally of the provisional results,” Faimalōmatumua explains.

“It’s reliable, accurate and will protect the voters’ information.”

The Electoral Commissioner says while the office will be using the new technology, they are not leaving behind the traditional voting system. “We will be using booths in some places as well.”

The new system is a grant from the World Electoral Association in South Korea and costs $5.8 million talā in total and it is expected to arrive next month.

Some of the staff will be traveling to South Korea to be trained on using the system.