1 Nov 2006

Voting rights for foreigners in American Samoa up for review

4:06 pm on 1 November 2006

The issue of granting foreigners in American Samoa the right to vote is set to be on the agenda of a constitutional review.

Governor Togiola Tulafono has said he has decided to leave this issue for a review of the constitution that will follow the report of the current political status study commission.

Giving foreigners who have lived in American Samoa for 20 consecutive years the right to vote has been a long standing campaign promise in the governor's race.

Since the late 1990s, there have been three unsuccessful attempts to introduce a bill to allow permanent residents to vote in local elections.

Governor Togiola says the review by the Commission is looking at the territory's overall political status and would be the best forum to review the issue of voting rights.

The review would affect citizenship if the people should decide to move on to a more autonomous type of government in association with the United States.