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Decisive Tokelau Vote Expected From High Turn-Out

High Voter Turn-Out Set To Deliver Decisive Tokelau Vote

By Selwyn Manning reporting from Atafu Atoll, Tokelau

The people of Tokelau's three atolls have turned out in force to vote on a referendum that will determine whether Tokelau will become self-governing in free association with New Zealand.

Tokelau is currently a colony of New Zealand and is overseen by a New Zealand Government administrator, David Payton.

Voter turnout is already over 98 percent, with 65 people voting in Apia (out of 67 registered voters); 195 voting on Fakaofo (out of 198 registered voters); and 181 people on Nukunonu (out of 182 registered voters).

Special votes are beginning to be lodged, with 81 votes received out of a total of 113 registered special voters.

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United Nations official Robert Aisi is leading the observer team during the Tokelau referendum.

Voting began at Apia, Samoa on Sunday (New Zealand time). New Zealand and United Nations officials are in attendance and have accompanied the ballot boxes over the last three days to each of three atolls in the Tokelau group.

People are currently lining up to vote on Atafu, the last of the three atolls, and a decision will be announced late Thursday evening (New Zealand time).

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The largest atoll is Nukunonu at 4.7 sq. km. Fakaofo and Atafu are 4 sq. km and 3.5 sq. km respectively. The total population of Tokelau is approximately 1500.


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