I’aulualo & Tapaau statement on election law

The gubernatorial team of Iaulualo Faafetai Talia and Tapaau Dr. Dan Aga issued a statement over the weekend in response to our report last week on election law requirements for ASG employees running for governor and lt governor.

The American Samoa Code Annotated Title 4 Section 3.0102 (f) states: “Candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor who are employees of the government in whatever capacity and for either the executive, or judicial branches, must resign their position with the government before commencing active campaigning. ‘Active campaigning’ includes but is not limited to: the acceptance of a petition from the election official charged with that responsibility; any effort whatsoever that is designed to influence or obtain votes from qualified electors; and any activity that would cause a conflict of interest at the candidate’s position of employment with the government. In any event, candidates must resign no later than 60 days prior to the election date even if the events above have not occurred.”

The Iaulualo Tapaau team said, “We have been made aware of the recent Talanei article citing ASC Title 4, Chapter 0102(f), which requires candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor to resign from their position, if employed in either the Executive or Judicial Branches of government.  We are also aware of the Election Commissioner’s response as stated in Talanei that “generally candidates must resign no later than 60 days prior to the election date.

“Our view as to the statute’s interpretation is in line with the Election Commissioner’s position.  To the best of our knowledge, this is consistent with the practices of the last gubernatorial election and previous elections.

“We also understand that the Election Commissioner is seeking advice from the Attorney General.  Considering these developments, we are waiting to hear from the Election Commissioner on this matter.