10 Things We Could Have Done Instead Of Flying Everyone To Malta To Vote

There's a few things that can get done with €1m+

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This weekend, hundreds of Maltese eligible voters studying and working abroad will be flying to Malta to cast their vote in the general election. This is no free lunch: individual voters pay at least €90 for the tickets - and significantly more for transport and time off from work. A government subsidy covers the rest: €1.1 million in the spring hunting referendum of 2015; likely more this time round.

It isn’t rocket science that the money could be better used introducing what other countries did decades ago: postal or proxy voting systems for eligible voters living abroad. Or better still, harnessing IT advances already at our disposal to enable an electronic voting system for voters living abroad, if not the entire electorate.  

Besides making it easier for countless Maltese to vote from abroad, here’s another 10 things we could have done with the money saved from not having to fly planeload after planeload of Maltese people living abroad to vote in Maltese elections.

1. Plant 78,000 trees around the islands, based on the current €14 price of planting a tree in the 34U campaign

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2. Make public transport in Malta free for an entire week (based on 43 million trips in 2016, at €1.75 each)

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3. Put a down payment on - if not funding entirely - one or more of the many long-overdue national restoration jobs out there: Ricasoli, Fort Delimara, Xrobb l-Ghagin Temple, Mellieha Tunnara, Ghajn Hamiem, Id-Dar ta'Pultu and Ta' l-Gholja Chapel

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4. Restore two Triton fountains (as per the original cost estimate) or a quarter of it (based on the latest)

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5. A year's worth of On-Call Platinum Diabetes strips for 1,500 people with Type 2 Diabetes on insulin (€24.40 per box; 5 boxes of 50 needed every two months)

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6. Cover the salaries of 80 new police constables - more than enough to man police stations in Swieqi, St Julians, and Bugibba, which never seem to have enough (based on the starting salary of a Maltese police constable, at €13,695 p.a.) 

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7. Buy another two London apartments for Maltese families whose children require treatment abroad (based on the amount raised in the Xarabank fundraiser on Good Friday)

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8. Double Caritas' annual budget contribution from the Government (currently at around €860,000 per year)

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9. Refurbish Gozo Channel's remaining two ferries (Malita's refurbishment, completed in 2017, cost half a million euros)

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10. Refurbish bits of the Old Marsa Power Station to be used as an incubator for new ventures

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Do you have any other ideas for how the money can be used? Tell us in the comments below

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