The speed of light, Catherine the Great and voting rights - the story of Adolfo Barroso

16 April 2019
Adolfo Barroso

The first time I tried to vote was in 2007, when I was 20 years old. I went to the polling station and they told me I was not in the voting list! I was very surprised, because I was well over the legal age to vote. I was very annoyed that I could not do something that all my family and friends could do, I felt invisible. They didn’t even tell me why I was not on the list.

It took more than 2 years for me and my family to discover why, and thanks to the help of organisations like Plena Inclusion. They told me that I was under full guardianship. The authorities and the courts were afraid that people would take advantage of me and influence my vote. So, they decided to remove my right to vote. This is not fair, I am a citizen like any other and should have the same rights.

It was very difficult to get back my right to vote. Even when we knew why, the authorities were not able to tell us exactly how to do it: first they told me to go to a psychiatric hospital to do a test, then they told me it had to see my family doctor. When I finally took the test, they asked me weird and difficult questions such as: What is the speed of light? Who was Catherine the Great? Who was Isaac Newton? And I wonder…how is this related to voting? It is very unfair.

This whole process took a long time: I was only be able to vote last year, in 2018, more than 10 years after I tried to vote for the first time.

There is much that needs to be improved: all persons with disabilities need to have the right to vote and we need more documents in easy to read. Right now, there are people that have to choose between their rights and the possibility of having a disability allowance. This is an unfair choice

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