Voters must re-register to participate in 2026 Samoa General Elections

The Samoa Electoral Commission shows electoral officials monitoring the counting during the general election in the capital city of Apia (Photo: AFP)

All eligible voters in Samoa including Samoa’s diaspora must register or re-register to vote in the next general elections in 2026.

Savali News reported the Office of the Electoral Commissioner is already on the ground conducting the re-registration process nationwide.

According to the Minister in Charge of the Electoral Commission, Faualo Lefau Harry Schuster, the re-registration initiative is targeted to upgrade the old electronic registration system which is now obsolete.

The old system has developed a lot “technical difficulties,” explained Faualo noting that it lacks the capacity to store new voters’ registration including citizens (here and abroad) who have turned 21 years old.

The Minister noted in his announcement in Parliament recently that all Samoan citizens, including those who reside overseas, can be prosecuted once they enter the country, if they do not undergo the compulsory election registration.

The Minister assured that voters who have registered only have to do biometrics to complete the new registration system.

According to the amendments, all new voters, including the Samoan diaspora, must register online then travel to Samoa to complete the registration by getting their biometrics done.

The Minister said under the law, compulsory registration is for all Samoans who have turned 21 years old, whether they reside in Samoa or not.

“It is easy to penalise those living here, but for those overseas, it is only when they come back. The main focus is equal treatment and opportunity for people. It doesn’t mean you get away if you live in New Zealand,” he told Parliament.

No amendments to the Electoral Candidate regulations

Meanwhile, concerns that Samoa’s diaspora will have the majority in Parliament in the near future have been laid to rest by the Electoral Commission Minister, Faualo Lefau Harry Schuster.

The concerns were raised in the last Parliament Sitting while the House debated the new approved amendments for the registration of eligible voters.

“There is no amendment to exempt Samoa citizens living overseas from the regulations dictating the eligibility to run as Electoral Candidates,” confirmed Schuster.

The Minister reiterated that the Government of the day has no intention to amend the Electoral Candidates regulations which are compulsory for both Samoan citizens living in country and overseas to comply.

The regulations are:

  • Must be a registered matai
  • Provide service to church/ congregation in the Electoral District (monotaga) for three years
  • Be of service to family, village and in electoral district (Tautua) for three years
  • Reside in Samoa for three years