Labour MP Oliver Scicluna has expressed how there’s an anomaly in the electoral system when it comes to people who suffer from disabilities like ALS and who can’t use their hands – leading them to be excluded from voting.
The issue arises if someone like the renowned late Joe Debono, who recently died from complications related to ALS, would have tried to vote in the next general election. Scicluna raised concerns on the exclusion and lack of support offered to someone who can’t use their hands to vote.
Scicluna carried on to explain how this was brought to his attention merely three weeks ago, when Debono texted him asking if during general elections there could be something in place, like taking “someone whom he trusts to the voting booth to help him vote”.
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“Three weeks ago I received a message from someone who suffered from ALS, and all of you in this room know who he is,” he said
Joe Debono, who’s famously known as James Bondin from Xarabank, died just over a week ago following his battle with ALS.
Towards the end of his life, Debono had become an active member of the ALS community, opening up about the challenges that come with ALS and refusing to shy away from the issue. His battle with ALS made it challenging to use his limbs, until he eventually lost all control of them, having to rely on others for day to day things.
“The disease took away his ability to use his hands, and he asked me why our electoral system won’t let him take someone whom he trusts to the voting booth to help him vote,” Scicluna said.
Scicluna went on to express how he replied to Debono saying he “promised him” that he would “work to make this possible”.
“Unfortunately, he passed away a few days after. I’m talking about Joe Debono,” Oliver Scicluna said while the room responded with applause.
For the past five years, Scicluna was the Commissioner for the Rights of People With Disabilities before resigning earlier this year to take a seat in parliament. During his parliamentary session, he also expressed how the system needs to be updated concerning the minority representation of people with disabilities.
“Even though some people may not agree with me, I will make it my mission to continue to speak up for fairer systems for people with disabilities.”
Do you think Malta’s voting system needs to be updated?