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American Samoa reelects most legislators and rejects more autonomy in midterm elections

by | Nov 16, 2022 | American Samoa, Elections | 0 comments

Results from the November 8 general election in American Samoa were finalized on November 15 with no challenges. This election included races for the delegate to the United States House of Representatives, 20 seats in the American Samoan House of Representatives, and referendums for constitutional amendments.

Current Delegate ​​Uifaatali Amata will return to her position in the US House of Representatives after running unopposed. 

The nonpartisan legislative election had 15 of the 20 races for the local house of representatives were won by incumbents: 

  • Alumamalu Ale Filoalii and Fetui Fetu in Manua District 1
  • Tiaoalii Fauagiga Sai in Manua District 2
  • Titialii Kitara Vaiau in District 4, Saole
  • Luaitaua Gene Pan in District 5 Sua
  • Avagafono Tuavao Vaimaga Maiava in District 6, Sua #2
  • Vailoata Eteuati Amituanai in District 7 Maoputasi #1
  • Vesiai Poyer Samuelu in in District 9, Maoputasi #3
  • Faimealelei Anthony Allen in District 11, Maoputasi #5
  • Manumaua Wayne Wilson in District 12, Ituau
  • Savali Talavou Ale in District 14, Alataua
  • Larry Sanitoa and Samuel Ioka Meleisea in District 15, Tuala-uta
  • Ape Mike Asifoa in District 17, Leasina
  • Sua Alexander Jennings as Swains Island delegate

The other five candidates elected to the legislature were: ​​Shaun Onosai Vaa, Malaeoletale Melesio Gurr, Tapai Alailepule Benjamin Vaivao, Tautoloitua Sauasetoa Ho Ching, and Fiu Johnny Saelua.

No female candidates running for the legislature won their races, making this House of Representatives the first body in 20 years to have no female representatives. 

The referendum votes concerned constitutional amendments that would give more independence to American Samoa. Citizens rejected three such amendments, specifically Amendments 1, 2, and 3 that would shift power from the US Secretary of the Interior to American Samoan officials. 

Amendment 1 would have shifted the power to appoint the chief and associate justice of the High Court from the US Secretary of the Interior to the Governor of American Samoa. Amendments 2 and 3 would remove the power of the Secretary of the Interior to override rulings from the High Court and impede veto overrides in the legislature. 

The opportunity to vote on changes to the American Samoan constitution does not come often. The proposed amendments would have given the territory increased autonomy from the federal government and granted more power to the local government. In the general election, the citizens of American Samoa decided to keep things the way they are.



Clarissa Gowing

Clarissa Gowing

Clarissa Gowing is a third-year English student at the University of New Hampshire, minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Originally from New Hampshire, Clarissa is currently spending her fall semester in Washington, DC. At her university, Clarissa is the vice-president and co-founder of Reading the Rainbow, a book club dedicated to novels by LGBTQ+ authors and authors of color. Additionally, Clarissa co-founded and served as the president of Wildcats in Action: the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Coalition, working to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault on campus. During the summer, she works as the Lead Camp Counselor at Strawbery Banke, a living history museum in Portsmouth, NH where she works with children and young adults to educate the public about local history. In her free time, Clarissa loves to read, embroider, and make fun earrings. She is the former Political Affairs Intern Editor at Pasquines.


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