Remote voting system and hybrid voting introduced to enhance accuracy and transparency in electoral process
The National Elections Committee (NEC) has announced Resolution No.25 of 2023, which encompasses the executive regulations governing the upcoming 2023 Federal National Council (FNC) elections.
These regulations serve as the legal framework that governs all aspects and procedures of the electoral process. Comprising 69 articles divided into nine chapters, they cover the formation of election committees, electoral rules, voter and candidate rights and responsibilities, electoral offenses and penalties, electoral appeals, and result counting and declaration procedures.
The executive regulations have been amended based on analyses and feedback from previous elections. Notably, the introduction of a remote voting system has been implemented. This smart system allows voters to cast their votes digitally from anywhere, both within and outside the country, utilizing digital applications provided by the NEC.
For voters residing outside the UAE, remote voting is available during the early voting period until the main election day, eliminating the need for polling stations in embassies. Additionally, a hybrid voting system has been introduced, offering voters the choice between remote and electronic voting at designated polling stations.
The hybrid voting system represents the latest and most efficient method of voting, contributing to greater accuracy and transparency in the electoral process. By employing digitized methods for vote sorting and counting, efforts are being made to enhance the electoral experience and encourage broader participation in national affairs.
To align with the UAE’s digital transformation, the electoral voting system has been updated to ensure smoother and more efficient completion of tasks, in accordance with the UAE Cabinet’s digital service policy, the national framework for information security, and the implementation of the UAE Pass digital ID system for all government transactions. NEC members are required to register on the UAE Pass platform to access the voting system.
The executive regulations also include amendments such as an increase in the candidate registration fee from AED1,000 to AED3,000. Furthermore, provisions have been made to regulate the candidacy process for individuals with disabilities, enabling eligible voters with disabilities to apply for FNC membership by submitting a medical report from the Supreme Committee for Medical Liability at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, outlining the nature and impact of their disability on performing the duties of an FNC member.
Other amendments include an increase in the limit for election campaign spending to AED3 million and an elevation of the maximum penalty for electoral violations to AED10,000.
The nine chapters of the executive regulations cover various aspects of the electoral process. The first chapter focuses on voting rules, specifying that each voter can only cast one vote for a candidate from their emirate. Voting can be done either online or in person, but voters cannot vote on behalf of others or change their vote once it has been cast. The most recent vote will be counted.