Sunday, July 15, 2007

Secret vote option has been denied again to the visually impaired

The Malta Society of the Blind, Gozo Aid for the Visually Impaired and Torball Society of the Blind said that a judgment handed down by the First Hall of the Civil Court of Malta “once again denied” visually impaired citizens “the right to vote independently and secretly, like other sighted citizens.”
The Associations said that visually impaired persons feel discriminated against by the method through which they presently vote, that is through the help of the officers of the Electoral Commission.

The Associations furthermore instead that another method exists whereby visually impaired persons would vote on their own. This method consists in a cardboard template the size of the ballot paper to serve as a guide in the casting of electoral choices.

The court case was filed in a bid to rectify the present situation visually impaired persons face; however the associations said that through its decision, the court appears to have failed to understand the issue.

“The court decided not to deal with the issue, in that it deemed it of a constitutional nature. Apart from that, it ignored the Equal Opportunities Act of the year 2000, under which we were seeking remedy and it also set aside the fact that such law prohibits all discriminatory treatments on grounds of disability,” continued the Associations.

“We feel profoundly aggrieved, in that all institutions failed to act in a concrete way and now that another institution, which is supposed to render justice to all, cynically turned its shoulders to us too. Therefore, we once again appeal to the Electoral Commission as well as to Parliament, so that all measures are taken to give us what, after all, is our basic human right,” concluded the Associations.


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