7 Nov 2016

No free lunch for American Samoa voters

2:25 pm on 7 November 2016

American Samoans have been reminded that the giving out of free food on election day is prohibited under territorial election law.

The 2016 general election is set for Tuesday 8th November.

Ballot boxes in American Samoa.

Ballot boxes in American Samoa. Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

The reminder from election officials comes amid new concerns that people are still not aware that the law banning the giving of free food went into effect during the 2014 general election.

Giving out free lunch plates had been the normal practice during elections over the past three decades but in 2013, the governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga proposed legislation to ban the practice which was quickly approved.

The change occurred following complaints that votes had been bought with free food on election day.

The territory's chief election officer, Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei, issued a reminder that there is "absolutely no free food distribution", beginning after midnight on polling day until the closing of polls at 6pm.

Campaigning or loud music near polling stations on election day is also banned.

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