1953 American Samoan legislative election

Legislative elections were held in American Samoa between 19 and 24 January 1953,[1] the first under universal suffrage.[2]

Background edit

In 1948 a bicameral Fono was created with a 12-member House of Ali'i and a 54-member House of Representatives. In 1952 the legislature was reorganised into a 15-member Senate and an 18-member House of Representatives.[3] The 18 members of the House of Representatives were elected by the secret ballot, while the 15 members of the Senate were chosen through open meetings,[1] one from each of the 15 counties.[1]

Of the estimated 7,300 eligible votes,[1] 4,675 people registered to vote.[4] Voters were required to have lived in their district for at least five years to register, with the voting age set at 18.[4] The campaign started on 5 January.[1] The Western Samoan government sent observers to monitor the elections.[2]

Results edit

3,770 voters cast votes in the election.[4] For the first time, women were elected, with Zilpher Jennings and Mabel Reid winning seats in the House of Representatives.[5] Twelve of the eighteen members of the House of Representatives were non-chiefs.[3]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Election scheduled The York Dispatch, 12 January 1953
  2. ^ a b American Samoa Holds Elections Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 17 February 1953
  3. ^ a b American Samoa United States. Congress. House. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, 1955, p5
  4. ^ a b c Experiment In Democracy Is Being Tried In Samoa The Fresno Bee/The Republican, 16 February 1953
  5. ^ Elizabeth Cox (1996) Women, State, and Territorial Legislators, 1895-1995: A State-by-state Analysis, with Rosters of 6,000 Women, p331