1972 American Samoan referendum

A referendum on direct election of governors and vice governors was held in American Samoa on 7 November 1972 alongside legislative elections.[1] Voters were asked to approve a proposal which permitted direct popular election of governors and lieutenant governors. The turnout of 28.20% was very low, and the measure was rejected, with 17.30% voting yes and 82.70 voting no.[2]


Choice Votes %
For 17.3
Against 82.7
Invalid/blank votes
Total 100
Registered voters/turnout 28.2
Source: Direct Democracy


Following the referendum, Governor John Morse Haydon was called before a Civil Service Commission tribunal, having been charged with pressurising district governors to encourage voters to vote against the proposals,[3] and of using state radio and television to oppose the proposal on the day before the vote and polling day.[4] However, the charges were dismissed as it was determined that Haydon had not violated the Hatch Act of 1939, as it only applied to elections and not referendums.[1]

An identical measure would be put before voters three more times in 1973, 1974 and August 1976 until it was approved in November 1976.


  1. ^ a b Current Problems in American Samoa United States Congress, pp103–112
  2. ^ Amerikanisch-Samoa, 7. August 1972 : Direktwahl des Gouverneurs und des Vizegouverneurs Direct Democracy
  3. ^ American Samoa hatches its own mini-Watergate Pacific Islands Monthly, November 1973, p8
  4. ^ Tough for big fish Pacific Islands Monthly, October 1973, p14