15 Sep 2014

Free food banned from American Samoa elections

7:20 am on 15 September 2014

Barbeques and free food and drinks, a feature that's become part of the election day landscape in American Samoa, is set to be banned when people go to the polls this year.

American Samoa's capital Pago Pago.

American Samoa's capital Pago Pago. Photo: AFP

The administration bill dealing with elections has been approved by the senate, and is to now be sent to the Governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, to sign off.

As well as prohibiting free food and beverages, the bill also bans billboards and tents around the polling area.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says people had come to expect free food on election day, and the ban will change the whole feel of the day.

"The election commissioner, Tuaolo Fruean, has said that when he was appointed, the governor had asked him to please look at ways to make it less burdensome for those who are candidates in the elections, because it's becoming too costly. People have expected that this is the way that election days are conducted, that all of the different candidates prepare food for the people that come to vote."

Monica Miller says the electoral commissioner has told candidates it's their duty to ensure that the public turns up on the day to vote.