UAE introduces remote voting and digital transformation in new electoral regulations

UAE introduces remote voting and digital transformation in new electoral regulations

The National Elections Committee (NEC) issued Resolution No.25 of 2023 concerning the executive regulations of the 2023 Federal National Council (FNC) elections.

The executive regulations constitute the legal framework governing all stages and procedures of the electoral process and comprise 69 articles divided into nine chapters, which encompass the formation of committees entrusted with organising the elections, the rules of the elections, the rights and duties of voters and candidates, electoral offences and relevant penalties, electoral appeals, and procedures for counting and declaring results.

The executive regulations were amended based on analyses and feedback from previous elections. The most notable feature is the introduction of a remote voting system, a smart system that enables voters to cast their votes from anywhere, whether inside or outside the country, using digital applications launched by the NEC.

Voters outside the UAE can vote remotely from the start of the early voting period until the main election day, with no polling stations to be set up in embassies. The NEC has also introduced a hybrid voting system that allows voters to choose between remote and electronic voting at specific polling stations.

The hybrid voting system is the latest and most efficient method of voting that will help make the election process more accurate and transparent. It utilises digitised methods to sort and count votes, reflecting the efforts to improve the electoral experience and encourage more people to be involved in national affairs by making the streamlining entire process.

The electoral voting system has been updated to match the country’s digital transformation, making it easier and more efficient to complete the necessary tasks with speed and accuracy, in line with the UAE Cabinet’s decisions related to the digital service policy, the implementation of the national framework for information security, and the adoption of a UAE Pass digital ID system in all government transactions.

UAE Pass is key to this significant electronic transformation and accessing the voting system, and NEC members are required to register on the platform.

The executive regulations were also amended to raise the candidate registration fee from AED1,000 to AED3,000. The candidacy process for people of determination has also been regulated, and eligible voters with disabilities can apply for FNC membership if they provide a medical report from the Supreme Committee for Medical Liability at the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The report should state the type and level of disability and how it affects the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of an FNC member.

As part of the amendments, the limit on election campaign spending was increased to AED3 million, and the maximum penalty for electoral violations was raised to AED10,000.

The executive regulations comprise nine chapters. The first chapter establishes the voting rules, which state that each voter can only vote once and for one candidate from their emirate. They can vote online or in person, but they cannot vote on behalf someone else or change their vote later. The last vote they cast will count.

News Source: Emirates News Agency

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