TV host Peppi Azzopardi complains of dementia-suffering mother taken to vote

TV host says his mother taken to vote, but St Vincent de Paule staff member claims dementia sufferers are arbitrarily excluded from voting

Peppi Azzopardi. Photo: James Bianchi
Peppi Azzopardi. Photo: James Bianchi

The TV host Peppi Azzopardi has complained that his elderly mother, a dementia sufferer, had been taken to a polling booth to vote during the week’s early voting for the 2022 general elections.

Azzopardi, the former Xarabank host, said his mother, a St Vincent de Paule patient, suffered from dementia and could not even recognise her own son. “In almost every matter concerning her, we are always informed about the tiniest of things, as it should be. Yesterday she was taking out of her ward to vote, without the family’s consent. How could they have done this without us being informed? Can I know what’s going on?”

Azzopardi’s post attracted a flurry of similar cases, showing once again a glaring problem in the way elderly patients who are still entitled to a voting document tend to be escorted en masse out of their wards to case a ballot.

The Electoral Commission allows families to request the interdiction of incapacitated relatives, to strike them off the electoral register.

But in cases where patients are still issued a voting document, hospital staff are obliged by the Electoral Commission to allow patients their democratic right to vote.

The voting documents are not held by patients, but collected by the hospital a day earlier from the Electoral Commission. They are handed to the patients before voting.

One SVDP staff member who read Azzopardi’s post on Facebook said he was present in the hospital wards during the early voting. “I can tell you that the staff there has worked during previous general elections are people who know their job well, and certainly there was no form of pressure on people to vote. But you cannot deny people their right to vote. Rest assured that she was in good hands.”

The staff member insisted that withot a court application for her incapacitation, any SVDP patient would have had their voting document issued, entitling them to the right to vote.

But he said that a dementia sufferer would not have been allowed to vote anyway. “The Assistant Electoral Commission would have determined that a person incapable of communicating properly should not be allowed to vote. I was one of these AECs and I know how the system works.”