Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has written to the President of the local Senate and Speaker of the House to request that the Fono enact legislation allowing military voters to register and vote in local elections without having to appear in person.
“As it stands now, our military service members are able to register and vote absentee, or without having to appear in person, for Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives,” Faleomavaega said. “However, because of the way our local law is written, these same military service members – many of whom are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – are required to appear in person to register to vote for local leaders like the Governor and Fono members.”
“It makes absolutely no sense to me that our active duty service men and women are being denied the right to vote in this manner,” the Congressman said. “Many of our service members have complained to me about this injustice given that the money they pay in federal taxes is returned to ASG to support our local government. Also, given that there is a procedure already in place to certify that these soldiers are eligible to vote for the federal election, there is no reason why local law should not extend this certification to cover the right to vote for local office.”
“I have discussed this matter with President Lolo and he asked me to prepare draft legislation which I have submitted for consideration. Unfortunately, while I was in the district, I did not have an opportunity to discuss this with the Speaker but I am sure he will also be supportive of this effort. In fairness to our active duty military men and women who put their lives on the line so that we can vote, I remain hopeful that the Fono will move promptly to remedy this before our upcoming elections,” Faleomavaega concluded.