Chapter 07 - Voting Procedures

Chapter 07 - Voting Procedures

6.0701 Hours polls are open.

The polls shall be opened by the district officials at 6 a.m. of the election day and shall be kept open continuously until 6 p.m. of that day. If, at the closing hour of voting, any qualified elector desiring to vote is standing in line outside the entrance of the polls with the desire of entering and voting, but due to the polling place being overcrowded has been unable to do so, he shall be allowed to vote irrespective of the closing hour of voting. No qualified elector shall be permitted to enter or join the line after the prescribed hour for closing the polls. If all of the registered qualified electors of the district have cast their votes prior to the closing time, the polls may be closed earlier but the votes shall not be counted until after closing time unless allowed by the Chief Election Officer.

6.0702 Admission within polling place.

No person, other than the district officials, the candidates or 1 representative appointed in writing by each candidate, and such qualified electors as are for the time being actually engaged in voting or going to and returning therefrom, may be permitted within the poll-ing place and that area surrounding the polling place reasonably calculated to preserve a peaceful and quiet atmosphere for the balloting process. Any other person who remains or loiters within the area immediately surrounding a polling place during the time appointed for voting, or who fails to vacate the polling place and area immediately surrounding it in response to the lawful order of an election official, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. If a qualified elector is manifestly physically disabled, the qualified elector may be assisted by anyone through the area specified.

(b) The Chief Election Officer may allow nonvoter groups to observe the election for educational purposes. The Chief Election Officer shall use his discretion in granting permission and ensure that persons whose applications are granted may observe the election at designated precincts in a manner that they will not interfere with the election process.

6.0703 Voting booths—Placement of ballot boxes.

(a) The district officials shall provide sufficient booths within the polling place at or in which the qualified electors may conveniently cast their ballots. The booths shall be so arranged that in casting the ballots the qualified electors are screened from the observation of others.

(b) The district officials shall place ballot boxes, where used, at a point convenient for qualified electors to cast their ballots after voting and where the boxes may be observed by the district officials.

6.0704 Ballot boxes.

The Chief Election Officer shall provide suitable ballot boxes for each polling place. The boxes shall be of material selected by the Chief Election Officer. They shall be smooth inside and out and shall have a hinged lid fastened securely by a good lock or locks. In the center of the lid there shall be an aperture of the appropriate size for the voting system used.

6.0705 Procedure upon opening polls.

(a) At the opening of the polls for election, the district officials shall, in the presence of bystanders, publicly open the ballot boxes and expose them to all persons present, that it may be seen that they are empty. They shall then be closed and locked and on no account opened till the polls are closed.

(b) The seals of the ballot containers or packages shall be broken and opened on election day only in the presence of at least 2 district officials.

(c) A card of instruction in both Samoan and English, detailing the method of marking ballots and of voting shall be immediately posted at or in each voting booth. Not less than 3 cards shall be immediately posted in conspicuous places outside the polling place.

6.0706 Signature required—Identification.

(a) Every person upon applying to vote shall sign his name in the poll book prepared for that purpose. This requirement may be waived by any district official if for reasons of illiteracy or blindness or other physical disability the qualified elector is unable to write. Every person shall provide identification if so requested by a district official.

(b) After signing the poll book and receiving his ballot, the qualified elector shall proceed to the voting booth to vote according to the voting system in use in his district. The district official may, and upon request shall, explain to the qualified elector the mode of voting.

6.0707 Prohibited acts-Removal or exhibition of ballot.

(a) No person shall look at or ask to see the contents of the ballot of any qualified elector, except as provided in section 6.0709, nor shall any person within the polling place attempt to influence a qualified elector in regard to whom or what he shall vote for. When a qualified elector is in the voting booth for the purpose of marking or casting his ballot, no other person shall, except as provided in section 6.0709, be allowed to enter the booth or to be in a position from which he can observe how the qualified elector marks or casts his ballot.

(b) All elections of members of the House of Representatives shall be by secret ballot. At each polling place there shall be a voting shelf or compartment at which each voter can mark his ballot in complete privacy, and such other election supplies as are necessary.

(c) In those districts using paper ballots or cards, no person shall take a ballot out of the polling place. After voting, the qualified elector shall leave the voting booth and deliver his ballot to the district official in charge of the ballot boxes. The district official shall make certain that he has received the correct ballot and no other and then shall drop the ballot into the ballot box. If any person having received a ballot leaves the polling place without first delivering the ballot to the district official as provided above, or willfully exhibits his ballot, except as provided in section 6.0709 after the ballot has been marked, shall forfeit his right to vote, and the district officials shall cause a record to be made of the proceeding.

6.0708 Time allowed.

A qualified elector shall be allowed to remain in the voting booth for 5 minutes, and having voted the qualified elector shall at once emerge and leave the voting booth. If he refuses to leave when so requested by a majority of district officials after the lapse of 5 minutes, he shall be removed by the district officials. Once a qualified elector has completed his voting and emerged from the booth, he shall not be permitted to reenter.

6.0709 Assistance of illiterate or disabled.

(a) Any qualified elector who, by reason of illiteracy or blindness or other physical disability, is unable to mark his ballot, shall, if he so requests, receive the assistance of 2 district officials or of any qualified elector whom he may designate, in the marking thereof. Before rendering assistance or permitting assistance to be rendered, the district officials shall be satisfied that the physical disability exists. If a qualified elector with a physical disability finds it unduly burdensome for him to enter the polling place, he may be handed a ballot outside the polling place but within 100 feet thereof by the district officials and in their presence, but in a secret manner, mark and return it to the district officials.

(b) The district officials shall enter in writing in the record book the following:

(1) the qualified elector’s name;

(2) the fact that the qualified elector cannot read the names on the ballot, if that is the reason for requiring assistance, and otherwise, the specific physical disability which requires him to receive assistance; and

(3) the name or names of the person or persons furnishing the assistance.

6.0710 Replacement of spoiled ballot.

In districts using paper ballots or cards, if a qualified elector spoils a ballot or ballot card, he may obtain another upon returning the spoiled one. The ballot returned shall be canceled immediately, and the reasons for the cancellation endorsed thereon and signed by the district officials.