Military Personnel Info

American Samoa law makes allowance for U.S. military personnel, their spouses and dependents to register and vote absentee in American Samoa elections.

I. BACKGROUND ON ABSENTEE REGISTRATION LAW

In 2002, the law requiring persons to appear in person to register to vote was amended, allowing “absent uniformed services voter[s] and overseas voter[s]” to register without having to appear in person before an election officer. At the time, this exception only applied to elections for the Office of the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In May 2008, the law was further amended to allow “absent uniformed services voters” to register without having to appear in person before an election officer, and the exception was extended to elections for the offices of Governor/Lt. Governor, and Representative to the Fono. In order to qualify under the law, “absent unformed services voters” must list American Samoa as his or her home of record or legal domicile, and apply for registration on forms established by the Chief Election Officer.

In March 2010, these laws were amended pursuant to the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act and in line with the advent of technological means for transmitting correspondence. Specifically, ASCA § 6.1102(a) was amended to provide absentee voters who fall in the category of US or ASG employees, students, and uniformed service members and overseas voters, electronic methods to request and the election office transmit and accept absentee ballot applications. So as to afford better access to the polls, the absentee ballot request window was expanded to start January 1st of the election year. In addition, ASCA § 6.1103(b) was amended to provide absent uniformed service members and overseas voters the option to request that the election office deliver their blank ballots for the Office of the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives only.

To qualify to register absentee in American Samoa, U.S. military personnel, their spouses and dependents, must meet minimum voter qualifications established by the American Samoa constitution.

A. QUALIFICATIONS

To qualify to vote, you must be:

1. Either a United States Citizen or a United States National;

2. At least 18 years old;

3. Lived in American Samoa for a total of at least 2 years; AND

4. Be a bona fide resident of the election district for at least 1 year preceding the upcoming election.

B. DISQUALIFICATION

You shall be disqualified to vote, if you are:

1. Determined to be under guardianship, non compos mentis, or insane, or

2. Convicted of a felony.

NOTE: Disqualified voters may reregister to vote once his or her civil rights have been restored or he or she has maintained good behavior for 2 years following the date of conviction or release from prison, whichever is later.

II. ABSENTEE REGISTRATION

1. ......Valid U.S. passport;
..............or

..........Certified abstract of registration of birth and Photo ID (Photo ID must be issued by a governmental agency);

2. ......Social Security Number card, or an official notice from the Social Security Administration identifying the applicant's Social Security Number;

............AND

3. ......Verification of status form

Close of Registration

The general register shall be closed to registration on Tuesday, October 9th at 4:30 p.m.

III. ABSENTEE VOTING

If you are serving in active duty status in the U.S. military forces, you may vote absentee. To do so, you must request and return an absentee ballot as follows:

Request for Absentee Ballot

Request an absentee ballot in person or by writing to the Chief Election Officer or by utilizing the Federal Post Card Application. Your written or electronic request may be sent to P.O. Box 3970, Pago Pago, AS 96799; or FAXed to (684) 699-3574; or emailed to asgelect@samoatelco.com

Requests for absentee ballots must be received no later than the given date from the Chief Election Officer.

Delivery of Absentee Ballots

Immediately upon receipt of a request for an absentee ballot within the time frames listed above, the Chief Election Officer shall examine the records to ascertain whether or not the applicant has registered and is qualified to vote.

As soon as the official ballots are printed and available (after September 1st), the Chief Election Officer shall send (using the preferred method indicated) in a forwarding envelope via airmail an official ballot, instructions, and official ballot return envelopes.

Return of Absentee Ballots

Absentee ballots must be returned via airmail and received by the Chief Election Officer no later than the given date from the Chief Election Officer.