5 Nov 2014

American Samoa voters head to polls

9:34 am on 5 November 2014

Voters in American Samoa are heading to the polls today.

Polls on Tutuila, Aunuu and Manu'a were opened at six this morning, after ballot boxes were delivered under police escort.

Voters will cast ballots for members of the American Samoa House of Representatives, a delegate to Congress and a referendum to give the legislature the power to override the governor's veto of legislation.

A noticeable difference on this election day will be the absence of the smoke and smell of BBQs near polling places, as giving free food on election day has now been banned.

A total of 16,776 voters have registered for this election, a 6% drop over the number that registered for the 2012 elections.

Historically voter turnout is lower when gubernatorial candidates are not on the ballot and wet weather may also be a factor in this year's election.

With nine candidates, this year's congressional election will have its biggest field since the territory began sending a non voting delegate to Congress.

Incumbent congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is being challenged by Aumua Amata, Paepatele Mapu Jamias, Mark Ude, Meleagi Suitonu Chapman, Rosie Fualaau Tago Lancaster, Togiola Tulafono, Tuaau Kereti Matautia Jr. and Tuika Tuika.

The candidate with the most votes will be the winner.

Ballot boxes in American Samoa.

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