An elderly woman who suffers from dementia and is a resident at St Vincent de Paul was taken to vote on Saturday, one day before her quarantine period was up, her son told Times of Malta

The family was never officially informed that she was going to be asked to vote, and it was only a staff member who mentioned the possibility, in passing, to her relatives a few days before.

"Unfortunately, my mother doesn't recognise us anymore and she cannot even tell the difference between Kinnie and a tea, let alone decide which of the candidates she wanted to vote for," her son Pawlu Mizzi said.

"How do they know whom she wanted to vote for? Did she really know what she was doing and who she was voting for?"

Mizzi's 72-year-old mother has been living in the home for the elderly since 2018, and over the last couple of weeks, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Mizzi said her quarantine was meant to end on Sunday, but he was told that party and electoral commission representatives entered her ward on Saturday, when she was still in quarantine.

'We weren't allowed to see her before Sunday'

"We weren't allowed to go see our mother before Sunday, because she was still quarantined, but it seems there was no problem with total strangers going into her ward on Saturday, while she was still in quarantine, to get her to vote," he said.

"On Sunday we went to see her and we were told that 'all was good, and that she voted'."

Mizzi said his mother was an avid political follower and commentator, and she used to make her opinions public in newspapers up until a few years ago. However, her condition had worsened and she could not possibly make an informed choice on Saturday.

'Probably denied right to vote for one of smaller parties'

"She votes on the first district and there are six parties contesting that district. How did they know for which party she intended to vote?" he said.

"And if there were representatives only from PL and PN, my mother was probably denied the right to vote for one of the smaller parties. It is not a fair process."

On Sunday, journalist Peppi Azzopardi took to Facebook with a similar complaint, saying that despite suffering from dementia, his mother was taken out of her ward in St Vincent de Paul to vote, and the family was not informed.

"My mother has dementia. She doesn't even recognise me as her son. Yesterday, without our family's consent, she was taken out of her dementia ward in St Vincent de Paul to vote," he said.

"We are usually informed about every single detail pertaining to her stay there, and rightly so. Why, then, did they plan on taking her to vote without informing us? Can I know what's happening?"

Mizzi confirmed that his family gets calls about their mother from the residence every week, but this time around they learnt about the possibility of her being asked to vote, by chance.

He said they were growing even more frustrated because the staff at the residence were being very cryptic about the process.

"We're told that's how things are, and that as long as her vote was issued, then she must vote. We also asked if we could be present when she votes, and they refused, and when we asked whether she was certified as fit to vote by a psychiatrist or psychologist, they said she wasn't," he explained.

"The fact that all our questions are met with obscure answers raises my suspicion even more."

Questions were sent to St Vincent de Paul Residence, the Ministry for Senior Citizens and Active Ageing, and the Electoral Commission.

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